Making Sushi Rice

I am certainly no Sushi Master. But I do know that if you can properly make the rice, you are one important step closer to being able to make a sushi roll.  The last step (after putting the ingredients together) is to actually roll the sushi, and doing this well simply takes practice and a willingness to serve and eat lopsided yet tasty sushi rolls.

There are a series of steps to follow in order ensure that the rice turns out well–beginning with choosing the right rice.  Look for a short grain white rice (although short grain brown rice can be used as well).  I will be concentrating on short grain white rice in this writing.  The rice package may even say it is for sushi.  What you do not want to purchase is sweet rice which is sticky and glutinous and is often used for desserts.

Once you have purchased the correct rice the next step is to rinse the rice incredibly well.  The goal is to remove the excess starch from the outside of the rice.  Techniques for rinsing the rice vary.  Placing the rice in a colander and running cold water over it until the water runs clear works well.  This can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes.  I have even heard of rinsing it for 30 minutes!  Another method is to place the rice in a bowl of cold water and gently rub it, draining and changing the water repeatedly until the water runs clear.

Once you have the rice rinsed and ready to cook, place it in a heavy pot with the correct amount of water.  The method I have been using for years is to bring the rice and water to a boil, stirring it just a bit to make sure the rice is not sticking, and then let it boil for two minutes.  I then take it off the heat, give it one more stir, cover the pot and place the pot back on the burner, turning the heat as low as possible and cooking it for 15 more minutes.  Meanwhile, I place rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl or small pot and whisk the mixture until the sugar and salt dissolve in the vinegar.  At the end of the 15 minutes, I remove the pot from the heat without uncovering it and let it sit for another 15 minutes.

I then place the rice in a large bowl or on a sheet tray, and sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice. Then I mix the rice, cutting it with a spatula with a sideways folding motion until it cools.  What I am trying to do is separate the grains of rice, leaving no clumps.  Once the rice has cooled, I place it in a bowl and cover it with a towel to keep it from drying out.  I now have Shari (Sushi Rice) and am ready to roll some sushi.

Here is the recipe for making Sushi rice.

Shari (or Sushi Rice)

2 cups short-grained sushi rice
2 ¼ cup water
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Method:  Rinse the rice well in a strainer.  Put the rice in a pot with the water.  Bring to a boil stirring occasionally to make sure the rice is not sticking.  Boil for two minutes uncovered.  Stir one last time. Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile heat the vinegar, sugar and salt until dissolved.  Put the rice in a large bowl or on a sheet tray.  Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice.  Stir the rice until cool (about five minutes).  Transfer to a smaller bowl and keep covered with a damp cloth.  Use as desired.

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