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Lesson 1: Cooking Sushi Rice
Seasoned Rice vinegar

You will need this to season the rice. I like to use bottled “seasoned” rice vinegar. The two brands I use are Mitsukan brand and Marukan brand. Also if you like you can make it from scratch with this recipe.

• ½ cup of rice vinegar (regular unseasoned)
• 3 tablespoon powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt (sea salt if you have it)

Heat the mixture in a non-aluminum pan. Stir occasionally until all the sugar dissolves (do not boil). Set aside to cool.

Quick Sushi Rice Recipe: for rice cooker or saucepan method

This is the best recipe to use in Sushi Magic.

Makes enough rice for about 2 to 3 California rolls, also 20, assorted Nigiri sushi. Use short grain rice. Brands such as Cal Rose, Nishiki, Shirakiku and Kokuho Rose. You can find these in most Asian food markets and nowadays most big chain grocery stores in the Asian food section or rice section. You can also buy sushi rice and other sushi ingredients online.

• 3 cups rice
• 4 ½ cups water
• 6 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

Method. Combine rice and water in saucepan or rice cooker. If using rice cooker, follow manufacturer’s cooking directions; you can turn it on and forget about it, the cooker does the rest.

Use a non-stick saucepan; also make sure you use a tight or snug fitting lid. Bring rice and water to the boil on medium high heat with the lid off; be careful not to let it boil over. Stir with rice paddle, and turn down heat very low. Place lid on pan.

Set timer for 20 minutes and simmer gently. After 10 minutes or so briefly remove the lid and give the rice a turn with the rice paddle or wooden spoon so it does not stick or brown on the bottom. Replace lid and continue to cook.
When full 20 minutes are up turn of heat and let stand for 20 minutes.

When rice is finished cooking, it is time to cool the rice. Turn out the cooked rice into a large non-metallic bowl. Sprinkle the seasoned rice vinegar over the rice. To incorporate the vinegar evenly through the rice, slide the rice paddle down the side of the bowl, lift and fold the rice. Also cut through the rice with the edge of the paddle and fold the rice. Let it all cool to between body and room temperature (your choice) and then it is ready to make sushi.


Always use freshly made rice, do not refrigerate. This dries the rice and causes it to fall apart when moulded for sushi.

Some key points when making sushi rice:

• If using a Saucepan make sure the lid is tight. This will prevent too much water evaporation. Use a non-stick pan.
• Carefully and accurately measure rice and water ingredients.
• Don’t overcook or undercook your rice.
• After rice and water boil, turn the heat very low and keep the lid on.
• Sushi making is a gentle art so treat the rice gently. When cooked, don’t stir; fold it with the rice paddle.

More info on sushi rice

There seems to be a lot of mystery about how to make good sushi rice. I’ve seen all kinds of recipes that come with rice cookers, on bags of sushi rice and on the Internet. Some of these recipes don’t work. I recommend my “quick sushi rice recipe” (above) when using the “Sushi Magic” home sushi maker.

Some comments on other methodology: Washing rice is optional. It is nice to do as it can remove excess starch. If you do wash your rice, make sure you drain it in a large sieve for 1 hour to drain all the water out. Any residual water left in the rice may upset the balance of the sushi rice recipe. I have tried both washed and unwashed methods and, frankly, it is very difficult to tell the difference in the finished product.

Traditional Sushi Rice Recipe Ingredients;

• 1 cup of Botan Cal Rose rice
• 1 ¼ cups water
• 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
Do not wash the rice. In rice cooker or pan, combine the rice and water and soak for one hour. Turn on the heat and cook the same way as for previous recipe “Quick Sushi Rice.”

Note: This recipe produces dryer, tighter textured rice and is not as easy to mould for Nigiri as my quick rice recipe.

Some like to cool the rice in a special flat-bottomed wooden bowl called a Hangiri, as it soaks up any excess vinegar and assists in the cooling process. Fanning the rice while folding in the vinegar may give the rice a nice sheen, but I can honestly say when I have tried this my rice showed no significant benefit. However it is authentic and fun to do this.

Other factors that may influence the finished sushi rice are the region the rice was grown and the mineral content of the water you use to cook with. My quick recipe is straightforward and will give you good sushi rice on a consistent basis.

Sushi Lessons Index |   Lesson 2>(Learn how to choose the fish for your sushi)
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