The perfect recipe for authentic sushi rice. Knowing how to make Japanese sushi rice is an essential base point to creating many other dishes like California rolls and Inari tofu sushi. With step by step photos and helpful tips, making sushi rice at home is easier than ever. You’ll have homemade authentic sushi rice to make any sushi you’re craving.
Sushi rice is the basic building block for many Asian recipes, specifically sushi variations and sushi bowls. Making sushi rice the right way can really make or break your sushi roll; everything from texture to taste! But, no worries. I am going to share how to make sushi rice- the authentic way.
You’ll discover how easy it is to make sushi rice and get answers to questions like:
- What’s the best kind of rice to use to make sushi rice?
- How do I cook it?
- What’s the secret behind a perfect bowl of sushi rice?
Why You Will Love Learning How To Make Sushi Rice
Making sushi at home can be so much fun! You can even gather all the ingredients and tools for different types of sushi and have a sushi-making party with friends! Get the kids involved too for a fun experience and have a blast making memories.
Although it’s nice to enjoy restaurant or take-out sushi, the price can add up. Making sushi at home means you can make as much as you want for a fraction of that price. Eating homemade authentic Japanese sushi is a real treat; from making the rice to choosing fresh ingredients, you’ll want to do it every week! And once you have made it once, you’ll see it’s simple.
What Is Sushi?
Sushi can mean different things and bring a different image in each of our minds. This is because it takes many various forms. For most of us, we think of sushi rolls or sashimi sushi. It’s probably the most well known Japanese food in the world and one of the most popular. It’s made from Japanese short grain rice seasoned with rice vinegar. This is exactly where the name itself comes from. “Sushi” is derived from Su-me-shi. Su means vinegar and (me)shi means rice. The middle sound “me” was eventually dropped to become the word we all know today: “su-shi”.
When sushi was first introduced, it was meant as a method of preserving fish by utilising rice fermentation. Japanese people started to eat preserved fish with rice after the Muromachi era. Nowadays, it’s just a delicious and traditional Japanese food that has grown to have many adaptations.
Ingredients Needed To Make Sushi Rice
You will need 3 important ingredients to make the most authentic Japanese sushi rice. The consistent and key ingredient in almost all sushi rolls is obviously the rice. It’s vital that this is made well, so whatever type of sushi you choose to make will turn out super delicious! Rice vinegar, called “su” in Japanese, is also an essential ingredient for seasoning the rice. The final vital ingredient is kombu. This dried seaweed kelp is cooked in with the rice to deliver the subtle umami flavour that sets genuine sushi rice apart from the rest.
What’s the best kind of rice to use to make sushi rice?
To make perfect sushi rice, you need to use the appropriate rice variety. For making sushi you need to use Japonica short-grain rice, preferably, “Koshihikari”. If you are in Australia, Sunrice brand sells both Koshihikari rice and sushi rice in a black package. Either will be suitable. For those in the US, popular options seem to be Nishiki and Kokuho Rose (this can also be purchased in Australia but I don’t use it).
Long grain rice, such as Jasmine rice or Basmati rice, is not suitable because it is too dry for making sushi. Furthermore, they are not sticky enough to keep the sushi shape. You need a sticky rice in order for it to hold its shape.
You can also get Koshihikari rice from Japanese grocery stores, supermarkets, and online stores. Choosing the right type of rice and cooking the rice properly can improve any homemade rice to restaurant-quality sushi rice.
How do I make sushi vinegar?
It’s not all about the rice though. Don’t forget about the important sushi vinegar (sushizu). Without this, you just have plain rice and no sushi in sight. The vinegar is quick and easy to make consisting of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. This is what gives it so much flavor and helps it all stick together. Ready-made sushi vinegar is available in bottles at the supermarket. However, it’s just as easy to make your own sushi vinegar mixture from just the three ingredients I mentioned.
If you can’t find any rice vinegar, you can substitute this with:
- Champagne vinegar
- White wine vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
How much rice do I need to make for a whole sushi roll?
It can sometimes be difficult to eyeball how much rice you actually need to make your favorite sushi roll at home.
The standard size of a sushi roll is 8 inches (21cm) long and about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. It is determined by the size of a Nori seaweed sheet. The nori seaweed’s standard size is 7.5 x 8 inches (19 x 21 cm). The size of sushi rolls that you can purchase from a sushi takeaway is usually ½ of one full-sized roll.
1 cup (240ml) of prepared sushi rice weighs about 5 oz (150g). You need 1.5 cups of prepared sushi rice to make a standard full-sized roll.
To further help you, I have prepared a useful calculator for you to determine how much rice and other ingredients you need to make a full-sized sushi roll (8 inches long).
How To Cook Rice For Sushi
Now that you know all of the ingredients you need to make the sushi rice, let’s talk about how to cook it!
When you make sushi rice, there are some kitchen tools that will make the job so much easier. Here are some of my favorites that I use.
I usually use a Rice Cooker any time I need to make rice. It cooks the rice evenly and it requires minimal cleanup!
Even so, it is important to use a little less water than normal to cook the rice when using a rice cooker. You need less water because later the rice will be combined with vinegar mixture and will absorb this too.
It is also important not to use the cup that comes with the rice cooker because they are all different sizes. To follow the recipe accurately, use a standard measuring cup (240ml).
Tip: If you don’t have a rice cooker, see my post on “how to cook rice (the Japanese way)”. This will teach you how to cook rice using a standard pot on a stovetop. You need 10% less water for sushi rice. Also, don’t forget to add a piece of Kombu (kelp) when cooking the rice. Kombu will give the rice a subtle fragrance, glossiness, and deep umami kick!
“Hangiri “, “Sushi-oke” or “Handai” are names for a Japanese wooden tub. It is a shallow and flat-bottom wooden tub used to make rice in Japan. You need to let it soak in water before you use it so that it will not soak up the vinegar from the rice and will help to avoid the rice sticking to the tub.
Tip: If you do not have access to this type of tub, you can substitute it with a large mixing bowl. Do not use the rice cooker bowl, especially for mixing the vinegar in. The acidity of the vinegar will damage the rice cooker bowl!
“Uchiwa” is the name of the Japanese fan. Of course, it does not have to be this type. However, in order to make the rice shine, you need something to cool the rice down quickly while you are combining the vinegar with the rice.
Tips for Avoiding Mushy Sushi Rice
Have you ever made a batch of sushi rice but ended up with a mushy pile of goo? We’ve all been there! That’s why I wanted to make this helpful guide for you all. Learning how to make sushi rice correctly is important because mushy rice will definitely not work for sushi.
To avoid this catastrophe, follow these four tips.
- Make sure the rice is hot when you pour the vinegar on top so that the rice turns out nice and shiny.
- Don’t stir and squish the cooked rice while mixing in the vinegar; you need to “cut” it into the rice. Do this by using a folding technique with your rice spatula.
- Use a fan to cool the rice as you “cut” the vinegar into it, so the rice is shiny.
- Cool to room temperature and cover the rice with wet kitchen cloths to avoid the rice getting dry. Do not keep it in the fridge!
Sushi Recipes To Make At Home Using Sushi Rice
Now that you know how to make sushi rice, it’s time to use it in some sushi recipes!
Sushi is such an essential part of Japanese cuisine and is probably the most famous and popular Japanese food. If you master how to make the perfect sushi rice, you can successfully make any sushi type.
Here are a few sushi variations I recommend trying to make. If you are looking for more, take a look at this sushi guide!
- Makizushi (rolled sushi),
- Chirashi-zushi (Scattered sushi),
- Oshi-zushi (pressed sushi),
- Temaki zushi (hand-rolled sushi),
- Temari-zushi (sushi balls)
- Sushi donuts
- Oshinko Rolls
- California Rolls
- Sushi Cake
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How to Make the Perfect Sushi Rice
- Hangiri/a wooden tub
- Japanese fan
Sushi Vinegar (Sushizu)
- 4 tbsp Rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups Uncooked sushi rice *1
- 1.8 cups of water
- 1 strip of Kelp (about 5 cm/2inch) *2 or I tsp Konbu dashi powder
- Wash the rice a few times or until the washing water becomes clear. Drain the washing water and place the rice in a rice cooker.
- Add the kepl strip and water and cook the rice as per your rice cooker instructions. *3
- While the rice is cooking, in a small pot, heat the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt together to make the sushi vinegar on medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Moisten the wooden tub with water and wipe excess water off with a cloth.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the kelp strip (if you used a kelp strip) from the rice and place the rice into the wooden tub. Pour the sushi vinegar over it and mix to flavour the rice while fanning it to cool down the rice.
- While the rice is hot, pour the sushi vinegar mixture over the rice.
- Turn and mix to flavour the rice with rice spatula (called Shamoji) while fanning it to cool down the rice.
- While fanning with the Japanese fan (called Uchiwa) make sure that you are not mashing the rice, rather more like cutting motion.
- All the rice to cool at room temperature and place a moistened cloth over to avoid getting dry.
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