Sushi (すし、寿司) is a Japanese dish made up of cooked vinegared rice which is commonly topped with other ingredients or put into rolls. With the base sushi rice recipe, you can make all types of sushi such as nigiri zushi, maki zushi, inari zushi and temaki. For fellow sushi lovers, here’s a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to cook sushi rice. This will be the base rice recipe for my upcoming sushi posts.
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Sushi Rice Recipe (Step-by-Step Photos)
Get the printable recipe for Sushi Rice on page 2.
(Serves 4-6 persons)
- 1 cup of Japanese short-grain rice
- water to cook the rice (usually in the ratio of 1 cup rice: 1 1/4 cups of water)
Vinegar Mixture A (if not using ready-made seasoned rice vinegar)
- 2 tbsp Japanese rice vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp caster sugar (adjust to taste)
- pinch of salt (adjust to taste)
- a piece of konbu (kelp), roughly 5 cm by 8 cm
- 2 tbsp sake
- paper fan
- Hangiri or any shallow and wide bowl
- Rice paddle/spatula
2. Rinse the rice in several changes of water till the water runs clear. The first few changes of water will likely be quite cloudy (skip this step if you are using pre-washed rice). Drain the rice in a colander for roughly 30 minutes (shown above). Draining the rice is believed to improve the texture and appearance of the cooked rice, but I usually skip this step if I’m pressed for time.
3. Measure and add water for cooking the rice. My rice cooker is a Japanese brand so the pot came with its own water marking for sushi rice. Refer to the ingredients list for the amount of water needed – you may have to tweak the water to suit your rice cooker and preference. Optional – add a piece of kelp/konbu (make cuts all over) and sake for additional flavour. Cook the rice using a rice cooker or simmer over the stove top.
4. While waiting for the rice to cook, prepare vinegar mixture by mixing the ingredients in (A) in a small, non-aluminum saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. You may also use a microwave oven and heat using low power for about a minute. The idea is to warm the vinegar just enough to dissolve the sugar, not to boil the mixture. I often use the short cut method of using seasoned rice vinegar (shown above) which has already been mixed with sugar & salt, and can be used straight from the bottle.
Note: You can tweak the vinegar mixture to complement the type of sushi you are making. For example, the stronger the filling/topping served, the more salty and less sweet the vinegar mixture. You can experiment with different proportions of vinegar, salt and sugar to come up with your own unique concoction.
6. Transfer the cooked rice (while it is still hot) to a hangiri or wide bowl. Pour prepared vinegar mixture over the rice. Stir the rice (gentle slicing action) using a rice paddle with one hand, while fanning the rice with a paper fan on the other hand. Do so until the rice has cooled to room temperature. Fanning the rice gets rid of excess moisture and gives the rice grains a glossy look.
7. It is difficult for me to coordinate everything with only 2 hands (fanning, stirring & photographing), so I mounted a portable fan along the side of my kitchen cabinet to automate the fanning process.
8. Cover the bowl of rice with a damp slotted cloth (dim sum cloth is perfect for this role) to keep the rice fresh and moist. Use the rice as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours. If you refrigerate the rice, it will turn hard and dry.
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