In addition to the traditional sweets eaten on Hina Matsuri (Girls’ Day), chirashi-zushi has become a popular dish for girls and their friends to share at their doll-viewing tea parties.

“Scattered” Sushi Rice

2 c. short-grain white rice, uncooked
2 1/3 c. water
4 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tbsp. salt
vegetable oil
1/2 c. dried seaweed
1 1/2 c. warm water
1/4 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin sticks
1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
10 oz. fresh tuna
1/2 c. cucumber cut into thin sticks
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. sugar
pinch of salt

1. Wash rice in a pan with cold water until water is clear. Drain and place rice in a covered heavy pot or saucepan with 2 1/3 c. water. Soak for 1 hour.

2. Bring rice and water to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until water is absorbed (about 25 minutes). Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove rice from pot and place in a large serving bowl.

3. While rice is cooking, mix rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Sprinkle mixture over rice and gently fold it into the rice with a wooden spoon or spatula. Leave to cool.

4. Cucumber cut into thin sticks, and set aside.

5. In a small saucepan, combine cucumber sticks-soaking liquid, soy sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar and carrot sticks. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove lid and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

6. Sprinkle lemon juice over tuna and let sit for 5 minutes. Squeeze extra liquid out of tuna, break into small pieces, and set aside.

7. Beat eggs with 1/2 tsp. sugar and pinch of salt. Heat a frying pan lightly coated with vegetable oil and pour in half of egg mixture, tilting pan to make a thin omelet. Fry over low heat for 30 seconds or until surface of omelet is dry. Carefully remove omelet with a spatula and place on a cutting board. Repeat with remaining mixture. When omelets are cool enough to handle, cut into thin strips.

8. With a wooden spoon or spatula, fold about half of the eggs into the rice. Scatter the remainder, along with tuna pieces, on top and serve at room temperature.

Preparation time: 1 1/2 to 2 bours
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves 4 to 6