How to Make Sushi Rice
Sticky Rice is the foundation of all great sushi as the definition of sushi is vinegar dressed rice. Though ingredients and freshness of fish may vary from one sushiya (sushi bar) to the next, it is the rice that truly determines an establishment’s uniqueness and each itamae (sushi chef) usually has his or her own custom recipe for sushi rice.
The carefully followed steps of preparation should yield sufficiently seasoned, toothsome grains that are high in gloss and easily separated yet simultaneously sticky. In other words, sushi rice should easily adhere to itself and the sushi nori, yet grains should separate and disperse easily and evenly across the tongue with each bite. With flavorful rice, the amount of soy sauce needed is greatly lessened and sometimes completely unnecessary.
From start to finish it takes about 1 1⁄2 hours to prepare sushi rice. Be sure to give each step the time it needs to be thoroughly completed.
Recipe for Sushi Rice
Yields: approx 8 cups
4 cups California short grain rice
4 cups minus 2 tablespoons water
Vinegar Dressing for Sushi Rice
1⁄4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice, optional
WASH Before cooking the rice, place in a medium sized bowl and swish with cold water at least 4 times to remove the excess starches.
RINSE Place rice in strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water.
DRAIN Allow rice to drain in strainer for 10 minutes.
STEAM Place rice and measured water in a rice cooker. Start a timer or make note of the time as rice is done after exactly 40 minutes.
MARINATE While the rice cooks, mix the vinegar, sugar, salt and lime juice if desired in a small cup or bowl. Set aside. Do not heat to dissolve sugar and do not refrigerate.
After rice is cooked, turn onto a large plastic or wooden cutting board making sure to omit any browned parts. With a wet wooden spoon, gently toss the rice with the vinegar mixture. Toss well ensuring that each grain is dressed. COOL Allow rice to cool to room temperature. Cover with a damp, lint-free kitchen towel or paper towel.
DO have plenty of dampened, lint-free kitchen towels or paper towels available for use. Sticky rice is just as it sounds-sticky!
DO inspect your kitchen area and clothes thoroughly after making sushi. Sushi rice is notorious for finding its way into other rooms and strange places. One usual suspect? Your shoes! Make sure to check the bottoms and sides of shoes, especially ones with deeply grooved bottoms to prevent rice from finding its way outside the kitchen.
DO wash hands before as well as during the process of handling sushi rice.
DON’T apply lotions or hand creams before making sushi. The rice will absorb any scent from hands.
DON’T handle strong onions or garlic with bare hands before making sushi.
DO remove rings, bracelets and watches while making sushi.
DO always remember to have fun!
Perfect sushi rice =toothsome , easily separated grains of flavorful rice