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Monday, January 12, 2015

Perfect Sushi Rice

Recently, some close friends took a sushi class. Though I love sushi, after several failed attempts at making it myself I passed on the class. Boy, was that a mistake! They told me it's all about the rice, but it wasn't until I had an amazing tuna bowl at one of their favorite restaurants that I realized how true that is.



This rice is so tasty that you can simply toss some tuna, Sriracha and sesame seeds on top and call it a day. But it's even more delicious in a roll.

Gather 'round, grasshoppers, and I'll tell you what they taught me about making delicious sushi rice.

Ingredients (Yields enough cooked rice for 5 sushi rolls): 

  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain rice (sometimes packaged as "sushi rice". Any short grain rice except for Arborio will work.)
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar (not the seasoned kind)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar**
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:
  1. Put the rice in a sieve and rinse for a full 5 minutes. It's very important to rinse as much starch off as possible so that rice doesn't glob together in one big sticky gunk. Don't skip this step. Don't be tempted to do a light rinse. Rinse it like it's covered in poison. If the water isn't clear after 5 minutes of rinsing, continue to rinse until it is.
    Rinse for 5 full minutes
  2. Cover the rice in water and soak for 30 minutes. (My sieve happens to fit perfectly in the cooking pot, so I just use that and it saves a dirty dish.)
    Cover rinsed rice in water and
    soak for 30 minutes
  3. Drain and fully rinse the rice again for a couple of minutes. (Discard the soaking water)
    After soaking and rinsing,
    the rice will be plump and white
  4. Put the rice in a pot and add 2 1/4 cups of water. (Note that your bag of rice will probably list a different rice to water ratio. Ignore theirs because they're not expecting you to soak the rice.)
    Ready to boil
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce to the lowest heat possible.
  6. Cook for 17 minutes, then remove from heat and leave it covered. No peeking, or you'll let out the heat!
    (But if you did peek, it would look like this)
  7. While the rice is resting, mix the vinegar, brown sugar and salt and heat to a boil. This can be done on the stove or the microwave.
    Vinegar and brown sugar almost boiling
  8. Using a fork, gently pull the rice out of the pot and into a larger bowl.
    SO fluffy!!
  9. Pour most of the vinegar/sugar liquid into the rice while gently fluffing it. (You won't quite use all of it.)
    Slowly pour in syrupt while fluffing with a fork
  10. Let the rice cool while it absorbs the liquid.
    The brown sugar will darken the rice a
    bit, but you won't be able to tell in the rolls**
  11. Use the rice in a rice bowl, a sushi roll or just eat it by itself as it's banging delicious!
* All these ingredients can be found at any major super market. The short grain rice may be located in the "International Section" of your grocery store labeled as sushi rice. If you can't find it, you can also use a medium grain rice. The rice wine vinegar might also be in the "International Section", but in my supermarket it's right next to all the other vinegars. You'll find ones labeled as "seasoned" which means they've added corn syrup and some artificial flavorings. If you want to add flavor, you can always add a strip of orange peel when boiling the vinegar, but I think it's totally unnecessary because you may want to use the rice for a variety of rolls.

** Brown sugar produces a much better flavor, but will give the rice a bit of color like a good sushi rice should have. If you want the rice to be pure white, you can use white sugar but it won't be as tasty.

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