sushi rice

What is Sushi Rice?

You may not know, but the word sushi is used to describe the rice and not the fish. The art of making sushi rice is highly regarded in Japan.

Rice is an art. The perfect fish in season is all about connections and money, but it’s the best rice that you can get. The nigiri you get in a regular restaurant is a pale imitation. It’s the equivalent of chef boyardee and freshly made pasta at a good Italian restaurant.

Even in Japan, sushi rice can vary from being made on a conveyor belt by a machine to being so good that you could put grass on top. This is one of Steph’s favorite sushi.

It’s not as difficult to get the right taste for sushi rice as it is to shape it correctly. If you don’t live in a major city for sushi (or Japan), this will make better sushi than anything you can find locally. This simple recipe will upgrade your homemade Sushi.

What is Sushi Rice?

Sushi Rice is Japanese short grain rice that has been seasoned with sugar, salt and vinegar. It forms the base of nigiri and maki as well as all other types of sushi.

Some sushi restaurants in Japan will tune their rice to the specific fish they are serving. This means they’ll have different batches of rice, each with a different seasoning, depending on what fish they’re serving.

How to Make Sushi Rice

  1. Prepare the rice. Use a rice cooker, Instant Pot, or my 27-minute stovetop method that has never failed me. Bring to a boil 1,25 cups of water per 1 cup rice. Cover tightly with a tight lid, and turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Remove the pot from heat after 17 minutes but keep the lid on. Continue with the next steps after another 10 minutes.
  2. Prepare the seasoning. Combine the rice vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until the sugar melts.
  3. Season rice. Transfer the cooked rice to a large bowl. Use a silicone spatula or a rice paddle to mix in the vinegar with the rice. It is important not to break any rice grains.
  4. Cool down the rice. Use a fan or a magazine to gently fan the rice while tossing it. This will help the rice absorb the vinegary sweetness. It should be cool enough to easily handle. It must be cool enough to not cook any raw salmon you place on top.
  5. Enjoy. Adjust the seasoning to your taste, and add more if necessary. Cover the dish with a wet towel until you are ready to serve.

Rice Vinegars: Red vs. White

It’s okay if most recipes for sushi rice only mention rice vinegar. The mixing of vinegars can be a great way for sushi chefs to express their own style. For example, some will mix akazu (red vinegar of rice, as shown below) and regular white vinegar 50/50. This completely alters the taste of the fish, rice and the sushi.

We brought back a lot of rice vinegars (they have entire aisles of vinegars in Japan) and played with them. There’s no need to buy these vinegars, but I recommend them if you want to experiment with your sushi. Amazon offers a wide variety of vinegars. For example, brown rice vinegar unpolished from Mizkan or amber rice from Kagoshima.

Rice Vinegar vs Seasoned Rice Vinegar

Speaking of vinegar. The standard cap for plain rice vinegar is green. Avoid the orange-capped pre-seasoned sushi vinegar. You can use the pre-seasoned rice vinegar (aka sushi vinegar) but do not add any sugar or salt to it. The premix isn’t as good but it is certainly easier. I like to go the extra mile. This recipe assumes that you’re using rice vinegar without seasoning.

What Is the Best Rice to Use?

On the Internet, I’ve read that glutinous rice is a good option. This is wrong. I’ve seen other recommendations for sushi, which to me sounds ambiguous at best. I recommend a simple koshihikari. Doesn’t matter if it is from Japan or FL. You can find koshihikari in any Asian grocery store , or online.

Instant Pot Sushi Rice

Instant Pot sushi rice is delicious! You can make great sushi rice in an Instant Pot! No need to make any other adjustments.

Uses for this Sushi Rice

  • California roll cones!
  • Make an ehomaki for the spring season
  • Order some assorted sashimi at your favorite sushi-ya to make a chirashi dish
  • Or fry up a filet of salmon and have fun. The combination of sushi rice and fish can’t fail – whether it’s raw or cooked.
  • Enjoy making nigiri at home, and forget all that I’ve said about its art!

Sushi Inc

Sushi Inc. is a vibrant restaurant that offers what is considered the best sushi in St Pete. Opening its doors in 2013 and becoming a local staple by offering live music, traditional hand-rolled sushi and a friendly atmosphere, our guests always have a top notch experience. Customers love our award-winning, fresh and creative Sushi rolls, Nigiri, and Sashimi. With a larger selection of tempura, non-Sushi, japanese, and teriyaki options, we can accommodate every taste in downtown St Petersburg Fl. Contact us today to set your reservation or if you have any questions. When setting any reservations, please inform us of any allergies you might have and ask for alternative options. Check out our menu and daily specials you won’t be disappointed with our #1 voted and reviewed sushi in the Bay area.

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