Chirashi-zushi (traditional Japanese rice dish)

1 cup Japanese rice (dry amount)

3 tablespoons sushi-no ko (sweet sushi powder)

5 dried (dehydrated) shiitake (Japanese mushrooms)

cup shiitake broth (see below)

Two yards of kampyo (type of packaged pasta-like gourd available at Japanese groceria)

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon katsuo-dashi

3 eggs, scrambled with 1 tbsp. sugar and a little salt, fried, then thin sliced (used as a topping)

5 tablespoons slivered red pickled ginger (topping)

5 tablespoons slivered dry nori (topping - nori is dried seaweed in sheet form)

4 tablespoons sakura denbu (optional sweet codfish topping)

Cook rice (see instructions). Meanwhile soak dried shiitake in a saucepan with cup water for about 30 minutes. Also while rice is cooking wash kampyo with a little salt then rinse with water. After shiitake is soft, add kampyo, sugar, katsuo-dashi, and 2 tbsp. soy sauce. Cook on medium heat 10-15 minutes. Squeeze liquid out of the shiitake and kampyo. Save shiitake and kampyo, but dispose of the liquid in the pan. Slice shiitake thin. Cut kampyo into inch pieces. Mix cooked rice and sushi-no ko, cooling with a hand fan to about 100 F while mixing. Mix in shiitake and kampyo. Can top with sweetened egg, red ginger, nori, and sakura denbu. Serves 4.

Recommended Japanese groceria, Boston area: Kotobukiya, in Porter Exchange Bldg., 1815 Mass. Av. (rt 2A), Cambridge. Park in rear on Roseland St., off Mass. Av., and enter back of building. (617) 354-6914