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Blog How to Make Sushi Rice: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques From A Professional Sushi Chef
How to Make Sushi Rice

How to Make Sushi Rice: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques From A Professional Sushi Chef

Sushi is one of the most popular and delicious dishes in Japanese cuisine, and its popularity has spread worldwide. Sushi is famous for its delicate flavors and textures, and it’s no surprise that many people consider it a work of art. However, many don’t realize that preparing the perfect sushi rice is the secret to great sushi.

Indeed, mastering the art of sushi rice is a fundamental skill for any aspiring sushi chef. From choosing suitable rice to preparing it perfectly, countless tips, tricks, and techniques can make all the difference.

In this article, we will be delving into the world of sushi rice, exploring everything from the basics to the advanced techniques professional sushi chefs use. So, if you are a seasoned sushi pro or a curious beginner, get ready to learn about the art of sushi rice!

The Importance of Sushi Rice in Making Great Sushi

Sushi rice is a crucial ingredient in making great sushi. It is the foundation upon which all the other ingredients are built. The texture, flavor, and consistency of the rice can affect the overall taste and quality of the sushi.

Japanese sushi chefs, also known as itamae, consider sushi rice the most important ingredient in making sushi. They believe that the sushi rice’s quality determines the sushi’s quality.

There are certain characteristics that sushi rice should have to make it suitable for sushi. The rice should be sticky but not too sticky and have a slightly sweet and sour taste. The rice should also be able to hold its shape when formed into sushi.

Choosing the Right Type of Rice for Sushi

Many types of rice are available, but not all are suitable for making sushi. The most commonly used rice for sushi is short-grain Japanese rice. This type of rice is sticky and has a high starch content, which makes it ideal for sushi. Other types of rice, such as long-grain rice or basmati rice, are unsuitable for sushi because they are not sticky enough.

When choosing the best rice for sushi, looking for high-quality rice is essential. High-quality rice will have a consistent shape, size, and color. It will also have a low percentage of broken grains. Broken grains can affect the texture of the rice and make sushi rice less sticky.

The best rice is Japanese short grain rice. The Japanese short grain white rice is the best sushi rice to use for this recipe. A medium grain can be used in a rush if a short grain is unavailable, but the outcome won’t be as excellent.

Moreover, try to avoid buying more than a year old rice. It becomes more challenging to boil and cook the rice more consistently as it grows older because you have to judge how much extra water to add to soften it to the proper consistency.

Preparing Sushi Rice: Washing, Soaking, and Cooking

Preparing sushi rice is a crucial step in making great sushi. Check this Sushi rice recipe.


Rinsing is a time-consuming yet crucial step. It is advised that you don’t miss it. The rice should be washed thoroughly to remove excess starch, which can make the rice too sticky.

Rinse the uncooked rice in the large bowl with water until the water is completely white. Fill the pot with clean water after draining the clear water.

Rinse the rice one more. Rice grains should be gently rubbed together. Rinse it once again with more water. Continue the rinsing process till the water turns clear.


The rinsed rice should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Soaking the rice ensures that it cooks evenly and that the grains absorb water evenly.


To cook sushi rice, the rice and water are boiled together. The ratio of rice to water is usually 1:1.25 or 1:1.5. Here are the steps for the perfect Sushi rice recipe.

  • Place two cups of washed rice in a large pot.
  • Pour 2 cups of water into the pot.
  • Be sure to cover the pot well and heat it to a boil.
  • Don’t┬átake the cover off.
  • Rice should cook for 15 minutes on low heat.
  • Take the pot off the heat.
  • Drape a tea towel over the pot after removing the cover. Replace the lid and continue to steam the rice for another 15 minutes.

Some people prefer cooking rice in a rice cooker. The cooking process is similar. Follow these steps if you want to cook rice in a rice cooker.

  • Set your rice cooker, then add the rice that has been rinsed and the necessary quantity of water.
  • Cook the rice for 15 minutes on low heat. At this time, your rice cooker will shut off by itself.
  • Now, leave the rice in the rice cooker for 20 minutes. This is essential. The rice can now “steam” as a result. Never remove the rice cooker’s lid throughout this steaming and cooking procedure.
  • Take the cover off after the 20-minute steaming time. To stir and fluff the rice, flip it over several times with a wooden spoon or rice paddle.
  • Put the lid back on for an additional five minutes on your regular steamed rice.

Seasoning Sushi Rice: Vinegar, Sugar, and Salt

Sushi Rice

One of the essential steps in making Japanese sushi rice is seasoning it with Japanese rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. This step gives the rice its characteristic sweet and sour taste. The seasoning with seasoned rice vinegar also helps to preserve the rice and prevent it from spoiling.

The seasoning mixture usually includes rice vinegar, granulated sugar, and table salt. The ratio of these ingredients can vary depending on the recipe, but a standard ratio is 1:1:1. The seasoning mixture is heated in a small saucepan on a medium high heat until the sugar and Sushi vinegar mixture and salt dissolve completely. The mixture is then poured over the cooked rice and mixed thoroughly.

Be prepared to work quickly when you combine rice vinegar with all ingredients in the hangiri or a large bowl. When combining the rice with the sushi rice seasoning, you will also need a continual source of wind blowing over the rice, such as a small electric fan or hand fan.

  • Switch on a small electric fan and direct it towards the large mixing bowl. Alternatively, get a little hand fan ready to use.
  • Place the heated rice in a hangiri or bowl, then add to the sushi rice seasoning.
  • Begin turning the rice over continuously with a wooden spoon or rice paddle, being careful not to smash the rice grains. When you combine the rice, simultaneously fan it or use an electric fan to blow air over it.
  • Continue stirring the rice until it has a lovely shine and the liquid has been completely absorbed. If unsure, continue cooling and combining the rice until you are convinced that the rice shine.
  • Your vinegar flavored rice will be prepared to add to any dish you choose once the liquid has been absorbed.

Keep your homemade sushi rice at room temperature and cover it with a damp cloth until ready to use it. Let the perfectly cooked Japanese sushi rice cool to room temperature before using it. Don’t transfer cooked rice to a refrigerator.

Techniques for Mixing and Cooling Sushi Rice

Mixing sushi rice is essential in making sushi because mushy rice won’t taste good. The rice should be mixed gently to avoid breaking the grains. A wooden paddle, known as a shamoji, is usually used to mix the rice. The shamoji is dipped in water to prevent the sticky rice from sticking.

After the rice is mixed, it should be cooled quickly. Cooling the rice prevents it from becoming too sticky and makes it easier to handle.

Traditionally, sushi chefs use a hand fan to cool the rice. The fan is waved over the rice while mixed to cool it down quickly.

Another technique to cool the season rice is to spread it out on a flat surface, such as a wooden cutting board or a baking sheet, and fan it with a hand fan.

Storing Sushi Rice: Tips for Keeping it Fresh

Sushi rice should be stored properly to keep it fresh. The rice should be kept covered to prevent it from drying out. It should also be stored in an airtight container to prevent moisture from getting in. Sushi rice can be stored at room temperature for a few hours but should be refrigerated afterward.

It’s essential to use the best sushi rice within a day or two of making it. After that, the rice can become dry and lose its flavor. It can be frozen if you need to store sushi rice for longer. However, frozen sushi rice may lose some of its texture and flavor.

Advanced Techniques for Perfect Sushi Rice – Using a Hangiri and Fanning

Professional sushi chefs at Rika Moon use advanced techniques to make perfect sushi rice. One of these techniques is using a hangiri. A hangiri is a wooden bowl used to mix and cool sushi rice. The wood of the hangiri absorbs excess moisture from the rice, which helps to make it less sticky. The hangiri also cools the rice more evenly than a regular bowl.

Another advanced technique used by chefs at sushi restaurants is fanning. Fanning is used to cool the rice quickly and evenly. A hand fan is waved over the rice while it’s mixed to cool it down quickly. Fanning also helps to remove excess moisture from the rice, which makes it less sticky.

Make Sushi Rice Perfectly: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Making sushi rice can be challenging, especially for beginners. There are some common mistakes that people make when making sushi rice.

  • One of the most common mistakes is not washing the rice thoroughly. Not washing the rice can result in rice that is too sticky.
  • Another common mistake is using the wrong type of rice.
  • Using long-grain rice or basmati rice will result in dry sushi that falls apart easily.
  • Using low-quality rice can also affect the texture and flavor of the sushi.

Tips for Mastering the Art of Sushi Rice from a Professional Sushi Chef

Mastering the art of sushi rice takes practice and patience. Professional sushi chefs spend years perfecting their skills and delicious sushi recipes. However, some tips can help you improve your sushi rice-making skills.

  • One tip is to use high-quality rice. High-quality rice will have a consistent shape, size, and color. It will also have a low percentage of broken grains. Broken grains can affect the texture of the rice and make it less sticky.
  • Another tip is to wash the rice thoroughly. Washing the rice removes excess starch, which can make the rice too sticky. It’s also important to soak the rice before cooking it to ensure it cooks evenly.

Conclusion: The Key to Great Sushi is in the Rice!

Sushi is a popular dish worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. It’s colorful, flavorful, and healthy. But, at the heart of every sushi roll is the rice. Perfect sushi rice is a crucial element in making your favourite sushi rolls. It’s sticky, fluffy, and has just the right acidity.

Sushi rice is the foundation upon which great sushi is built. The texture, flavor, and consistency of the rice can affect the overall taste and quality of the sushi. Perfecting this delicate and nuanced skill takes years of practice and dedication.

Mastering the art of sushi rice takes practice and patience, but anyone can make great sushi rice with the right techniques and tips. So whether you’re a seasoned sushi pro or a curious beginner, remember that the key to great sushi is in the rice!


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