Learn To Make Sushi Rice

Many people don’t realize the word “sushi” refers to vinegared rice, not any particular type of seafood or filling. Sushi rice is a cornerstone of Japanese cuisine, and getting it just right is essential to preparing both traditional items like nigiri or maki and Westernized variations such as California rolls. With a few tips, you’ll be on your way to learning to cook rice that is firm, yet tender, and sticks together without becoming gummy.

1. Select the right grains
Cooking a tasty batch of sushi starts with picking up the right kind of rice. You need a short-grain variety, preferably one that is specifically labeled for sushi. Just Hungry pointed out the Italian vialone will do do in the pinch, but you don’t want to use just any rice: Choosing the wrong type is likely to leave you with mushy, watered-down results.

2. Rinse before you steam
Another way to sabotage your sushi is forgetting to rinse it off. It’s important to maintain enough stickiness to form a roll or just pick up several grains with chopsticks, but you don’t want the final product to be overly starchy. Wash off the rice with cool water two or three times, carefully rubbing the grains off with your hands. Look for the water coming out of the strainer to appear clear.

Next, it’s time to steam the rice, which is easiest if you have a rice cooker. However, it’s also possible to use a saucepan, as Alton Brown explained. His directions call for placing the rice in water and bringing to a boil. Then, bring the heat down to the lowest setting to simmer for 15 minutes.

You can make a range of delicious items when you master sushi rice.You can make a range of delicious items when you master sushi rice.

3. Mix the vinegar
Sushi rice gets its distinctive flavor from seasoned rice vinegar. While sushi vinegar is available in many stores, making your own means you can adjust the contents of the mixture based on your preferences. Serious Eats recommended heating a quarter cup of rice vinegar with sugar, salt and a strip of the kelp kombu.

4. Combine rice and vinegar
Place the steamed rice in a large bowl and pour on the vinegar mixture. According No Recipes, it’s a good idea to place the bowl on a wet towel to prevent it from sliding around. Fan the rice out and use a flat wooden spoon to combine the grains and the vinegar. Strive to get the rice nicely seasoned without damaging it.

Cooking sushi rice takes finesse, but if prepared correctly, the grains should hang together and have a mildly sweet and tart flavor. Students in online cooking classes can develop their skills in making sushi rice and then put it to work in a variety of dishes.

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