Rinse and soak the sushi rice
- Measure the rice into a bowl, cover with water and immediately drain. Repeat two more times, washing the rice gently so as not to break the grains.
- As soon as the rice comes into contact with water it will start to become absorbent. Therefore it is vital this washing is done quickly as well as gently. The idea is to lightly rinse the rice rather than scrub it.
- Next, the rice should be soaked to let the water permeate the innermost part of the grain – this will take around one hour in summer and two hours in winter. When soaked, the weight of the rice increases by 1 1/4 times and becomes powdery when rubbed between your fingers.
Add water to rice
- Drain the water after soaking and add fresh water to cook the rice in. Traditional Japanese methods advise a complicated formula to work out the exact amount of water needed, which varies depending on the temperature, the quality of the rice and even the length of time it has been harvested.
- However, the rule of thumb is as follows:
- For 1kg of uncooked rice
- After soaking, this will weigh approx 1.25kg (having absorbed 0.25 ltr of water)
- Total water added for cooking should be 1.3 ltrs, but the rice already contains 0.25 ltrs from soaking so another 1.05 ltrs need to be added for cooking.
Steam the rice
- If possible, cook the rice in a rice cooker for around 20-25 minutes, following the manufacturers’ instructions, then leave to rest for another 20-30 minutes. The resting time is vital to allow any moisture on the surface to evaporate and to allow the rice to become sticky.
Add Mizkan Sushi Seasoning to the rice
- The traditional way is to dampen a wooden rice-cooling tub, called a hangiri, and pour the cooked rice into it. Sprinkle the Mizkan Sushi Vinegar over the rice while still hot.
- Fluff up the grains using a rice paddle by moving it from the bottom up, to coat the rice evenly with vinegar. Break up any lumps with the paddle, using a gentle cutting motion to avoid turning the rice into a paste.
- At the same time, fan the rice with a special rice-cooling fan, called an uchiwa to cool it down slightly.
- Getting the temperature just right is vital. If the temperature of the rice is too low when adding the sushi vinegar it will become sticky, forming lumps which are hard to separate. The rice will also lose its sheen
Cool and mould the rice
- If possible keep the rice at body temperature - between 30C and 40C - for moulding into shape.
- Be gentle when handling the rice as squashing the rice grains will make them too sticky.