A chef recently told me the key to making good sushi is all about the rice - get that part right, and you can't go wrong. Sushi Rice is easy to make, but there are a few important rules you need to know:
- You have to use rice specifically marked "sushi rice". Other varieties don't contain enough starch and they just don't work.
- Because sushi rice is so high in starch, you have to rinse it really well before cooking, otherwise you'll end up with a giant glutenous mass.
- You should add the sushi vinegar to the rice while the rice is still warm so it can absorb the vinegar.
- You should stir the rice and vinegar together gently to break up the clumps, being careful not to compress the rice too much.
- Use wet hands when handling the finished sushi rice to keep it from sticking to you.
Simple enough, right? Okay, let's make sushi rice.
Chef Rogelio's Professional Sushi Rice
makes enough to fill about 20 sushi rolls
- 4 cups sushi rice, rinsed until water runs clear
- 4 1/2 cups cold water (yes, this amount of water is correct)
- 1 1/4 cups rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 4x4-inch sheet of kelp (kombu)
To cook the rice:
Combine rinsed sushi rice and water together in a large saucepan and bring to a boil; cover saucepan and continue to boil for about 13 minutes, until all the water is absorbed.
Turn off the heat and allow rice to rest in covered saucepan for 30 minutes. Alternatively, add rinsed rice and water to rice cooker and start the rice setting, allowing the rice to rest for 30 minutes when the cooking cycle is complete.
To make the sushi vinegar:
Combine ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, just until the salt and sugar dissolve and the mixture begins to boil.
Remove from heat immediately and cool.
To finish preparing the sushi rice:
Spread the cooked rice in a large wide bowl and sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the sushi vinegar.
Toss and stir to break up rice clumps and to be sure all the rice is evenly coated with the sushi vinegar. It will be sticky and have a shiny appearance. The rice is now ready to be used.
Note: Keep a bowl of water near your work station to dip your hands into - this will help keep the rice from sticking to you. It's also helpful to keep a damp cloth nearby.