How to Make Sushi Rice with Regular Rice

Sushi is a beloved Japanese dish known for its delicate balance of flavours, textures, and aesthetics. At the heart of every excellent sushi roll is sushi rice, known as “shari” or “sushi.” Sushi rice is the foundation that holds everything together, and it’s characterized by its sticky yet firm texture, slightly sweet and tangy flavour, and glossy appearance. While sushi rice is traditionally made from a specific type of short-grain Japanese rice, creating delicious sushi rice using regular long-grain or medium-grain rice is possible. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of making sushi rice with regular rice so you can easily enjoy homemade sushi.

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s gather the essential ingredients and equipment you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • Regular long-grain or medium-grain rice (sushi rice or Calrose rice is preferred, but other types will work)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Water

Equipment

  • Fine-mesh sieve or colander
  • Rice cooker or a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid
  • Wooden rice paddle or spatula (preferably a non-metallic utensil to avoid damaging the rice)

Now, let’s explore the step-by-step process of making sushi rice with regular rice:

Measure and Rinse the Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 cups regular long-grain or medium-grain rice (approximately 400 grams)
  • 2 1/2 cups water (for rinsing)

Instructions

  1. Start by measuring out 2 cups of regular long-grain or medium-grain rice. This will yield enough sushi rice for about 4 sushi rolls.
  2. Place the measured rice in a fine-mesh sieve or colander and rinse it thoroughly under cold running water. Use your hands to agitate the rice while rinsing gently. Continue rinsing until the water runs clear. This step removes excess starch from the rice.
  3. Allow the rice to drain for about 30 minutes to remove excess water.

Cook the Rice

Ingredients

Instructions (Rice Cooker Method)

  1. Transfer the rinsed and drained rice to your rice cooker.
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the rice cooker, and use the rice cooker’s settings to cook the rice. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific rice cooker model.

Instructions (Stovetop Method)

  1. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can cook the rice on the stovetop. Combine the rinsed and drained rice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with 2 1/2 cups of water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes for long-grain rice or 10-15 minutes for medium-grain rice. The rice should be tender, and all the water should be absorbed.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, please remove it from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes to steam.

Prepare the Sushi Vinegar

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Instructions

  1. Combine the rice vinegar, granulated sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Stir the mixture until the sugar and salt completely dissolve. This should take a few minutes.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the sushi vinegar cool to room temperature.

Season the Cooked Rice

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. While the cooked rice is still hot, transfer it to a large, non-metallic bowl. A wooden or plastic bowl is ideal for avoiding undesirable reactions with the vinegar.
  2. Gradually pour the sushi vinegar over the hot rice. Use a wooden rice paddle or spatula to gently fold and mix the vinegar into the rice, using a slicing and flipping motion. Be careful not to mash or vigorously stir the rice; you want to coat each grain with vinegar without breaking it.
  3. Continue to fold and mix the rice until it reaches room temperature. As you mix, fan the rice to help it cool faster and achieve the desired glossy finish. You can use a handheld fan or simply wave a piece of cardboard or a magazine over the rice.
  4. Taste the sushi rice. It should have a slightly sweet and tangy flavor. Adjust the seasoning by adding more vinegar, sugar, or salt if needed, but be cautious and make small adjustments, as the flavour will intensify over time.

Cover and Rest the Sushi Rice

Instructions

  1. Once the sushi rice reaches room temperature and is seasoned to your liking, cover it with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
  2. Let the sushi rice rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld and the rice to be slightly sticky.

Now that you’ve prepared your sushi rice, you can use it to make sushi rolls, nigiri, or any other sushi creations you desire. Here are some tips for using your homemade sushi rice:

Tips for Using Homemade Sushi Rice

Keep It Moist: To prevent the sushi rice from drying out while working with it, keep a bowl of water with a bit of rice vinegar nearby. Dip your hands and utensils in the water to keep the rice moist and manageable.

Use a Wooden Sushi Mat: For making sushi rolls (maki), consider using a bamboo sushi rolling mat. Place a plastic wrap or a sushi-grade nori sheet on the mat, and add your sushi rice, fillings, and roll. The mat helps create uniform and tightly packed rolls.

Wet Your Hands: When forming nigiri (hand-pressed sushi), wet your hands with water and a few drops of rice vinegar to prevent the rice from sticking.

Experiment with Fillings: Sushi is incredibly versatile, so feel free to get creative with your fillings. Common choices include fresh fish, avocado, cucumber, and cooked shrimp, but endless possibilities exist.

Slice with a Sharp Knife: Use a sharp, wet knife to achieve clean and precise cuts when slicing sushi rolls. Wet the knife between each slice to prevent sticking.

Enjoy Fresh: Sushi is best enjoyed fresh, so try to consume it shortly after preparation to savour the ideal texture and flavour.

Conclusion

Making sushi rice with regular long-grain or medium-grain rice is a practical way to enjoy homemade sushi without needing special rice varieties. Following these steps and tips, you can create sushi rice with the desired stickiness, flavour, and texture for crafting delicious sushi rolls, nigiri, and other sushi creations. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your favourite fillings, and embark on a sushi-making adventure in the comfort of your kitchen. With some practice, you’ll impress your friends and family with your homemade sushi masterpieces in no time!

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