Sushi rice is the base of different kinds of sushi dishes. The key points for preparations are;
- Use polished—that is, white—short-grain Japanese rice or medium-grain California rice. Rice sold as “sushi rice” is nothing more than regular polished short-grain Japanese rice.
- Rinse the rice by covering it with cold water in a bowl and rubbing it in the water for 10 to 20 seconds. Discard the liquid. Add fresh water, and repeat the process three times.
- Instead of soaking the rice after its fourth rinsing, drain it, and let it rest in a colander for an hour before cooking. This produces firmly cooked rice, which is perfect for tossing later with vinegar dressing.
- Use good-quality rice vinegar.
- For mixing the cooked rice with the vinegar dressing, the best container is a hangiri tub. A hangiri is made of unfinished sawara cypress wood. Because the wood absorbs moisture and retains heat, the rice doesn’t become watery after it is tossed with vinegar dressing; nor does it cool too quickly.
- An unfinished wooden salad bowl is a good substitute for a hangiri. If you have no hangiri or unfinished salad bowl, substitute a glass or glazed ceramic bowl. A hangiri tub, and a large wooden spatula for tossing the rice, require soaking in cold water for 30 minutes before use. If the wood is dry, the rice sticks to it, and the wood absorbs too much of the dressing.
- Prepared sushi rice should be stored at cool room temperature, covered with a moist cotton cloth. Never refrigerate sushi rice, or it will become unpleasantly firm in texture.
How To Make Sushi Rice
- 3 cups (4 rice-cooker cups) short-grain or
- medium-grain white rice
- One2-inch squarekomhu (kelp)
- 2 tablespoons sake (rice wine)
- 6 tablespoons komezu (rice vinegar), plus
- 2 tablespoonsfor the utensils
- 2 tablespoons sugar, to taste
- 2ly teaspoons salt
At least one hour before you plan to begin cooking the rice, rinse the rice as described on page 2, and drain it in a colander. At least 20 minutes before beginning to cook the rice, place a hangiri tub or an unfinished wooden salad bowl and a wooden spatula in cold water to soak.
Best Sushi Rice Recipe:
Make the dressing: As soon as you begin cooking the rice, combine 6 tablespoons of the « komezu, the sugar, and salt in a small bowl, and stir well. Bythe time the rice is cooked, the sugar and salt will be almost dissolved. (If you forget to do this step ahead of time, you can heat the mixture in a small saucepan over low heat to facilitate the dissolving, but never boil the mixture.)
When the rice is done, let it stand in the rice cooker or pot, covered, for 5 minutes. While waiting, drain the hangiri tub or salad bowl and the spatula, wipe off excess water with a paper towel, and rub the inside surface of the tub and the surface of the spatula with the remaining 2 tablespoons komezu. Transfer the cooked rice all at one time into the wooden tub, and, with a large circular motion, quickly pour the vinegar dressing evenly over the rice. Toss the rice thoroughly by cutting into it vertically with the spatula, and then lifting the rice and turning it over. Be careful not to mash the rice. The tossingshould take less than 2 minutes.
Toward the end of the tossing, fan the rice briefly with a hand fan or square of card board. This facilitates quick cooling, which gelatinizes the surface of the rice, giving it an attractive, glossy appearance.
If no hangiri tub or large unfinished wooden salad bowl is available, use the following technique: Put the cooked rice all at one time into a colander placed above a glass or glazed ceramic bowl. Break the rice roughly with a wooden spatula, and pour the vinegar dressing evenly over the rice in a large circular motion. Cutting vertically, lifting, and turning, toss the rice thoroughly. Pour any drops of dressing collected in the bowl back over the rice, and toss
it again. Fan the rice briefly. Collect the tossed rice in the center of the tub, shape it into a mound, and cover it with a
moist cotton cloth until you are ready to use it. Sushi rice may be made in the morning for use later in the day.