The type of rice used is optional, depending on personal taste. However, the following conditions should be maintained:
First, add water to the measured rice and drain quickly. Next, add water one more time and wash the rice gently so as not to break the grains, then drain. Repeat the second procedure a few more times (about three times in all).
Modern, advanced milling techniques allow only a small amount of bran residue to remain on the refined grains. Therefore, care must be taken not to scrub the rice, which causes cracking, but to lightly “rinse” the grains.
Let the rice soak in the water long enough so that the water reaches the innermost part of the grains. Suggested times for soaking are one hour in summer and two hours in winter, based on changes in humidity.
When soaking is completed, the weight of the rice increases by 1.25 to 1.30 times that of the uncooked rice, and the rice becomes powdery when strongly rubbed together between the fingers.
Drain the water after soaking is finished, and add fresh water before cooking. The amount of the water added depends on taste; however, a rule-of-thumb is shown below:
Note the following formula:
The amount of water absorbed during soaking + the amount of water added (before cooking) = Total amount of water to be added
Sushi Rice (Sticky Rice): The weight of the dried rice x 1.30 – 1.35 (for example): Rice 3.6Kg(7.9lbs). After soaked weight 4.6Kg(10.1lbs)=1kg(2.2lbs) of Water absorbed 3.6Kg x 1.30 = 4.68Kg(10.3lbs)(Total amount of water)
So, adding water is 4.68Kg – 1Kg = 3.68Kg(8.1lbs)
If the cooked rice is to be kept in a chilled room, add extra water to the rice, depending upon the conditions of the room. (Sushi seasoning should be included in this amount.)
Cooked Rice: The weight of the dried rice x 1.40 – 1.50(for steamed rice) *The amount of water added
If soaking conditions are standardized, it is acceptable to use the amount of water added to the soaked rice as a yardstick. The appropriate amount of water to be added fluctuates greatly, depending upon the quality of rice. If changing the type of rice or switching from old to new harvest grains, and vice versa, the rice should be test-cooked to check for the optimum amount of water to be added. *The quality of water
Rice cooked in hard water tends to be harder, but the quality of water does not pose specific problems unless it is of an extreme hardness. Any chlorine smell may be effectively removed with a water purifier.
Select an appropriate heat control according to the directions on the automatic rice cooker. Monitor the time needed to allow the rice to settle. It is critical to allow time for the rice to settle, in addition to the cooking process, in order to obtain the necessary amount of heat to fully cook the rice.
Rice should be allowed to settle after cooking because:
Maintain a high surrounding temperature while allowing rice to settle. When the rice is allowed to settle for too long, it loses sheen. When it cools down, it becomes sticky, making it difficult to separate individual grains from each other.
Wet a wooden rice-cooling tub, or HANGIRI, and pour the cooked rice in it. Sprinkle Sushi Seasoning over the rice while hot (the temperature of the rice should be over 90°C, or about 190°F).
Fluff with a rice paddle, by moving it from the bottom up, to coat the rice evenly with vinegar. Quickly break up any chunks with the paddle to prevent clumps from forming.
Use a gentle cutting motion of the paddle, rather than mixing the rice into a paste. At the same time, fan it with a rice-cooling fan, or UCHIWA, to cool it down slightly.
If the temperature of the rice is too low when adding Sushi Seasoning, the rice becomes sticky, forming hard-to-separate clumps. Furthermore, the rice loses its sheen and its surface becomes rough.
It is important to cool the rice prior to molding, or forming the rice into various shapes. Control the cooling process to reduce the temperature 30° and 40°C (about 86° to 104°F). High temperatures may cause water condensation in the rice container, leading to stickiness and discoloration of rice. To avoid this, the rice should be slightly cooled to at least 60°C (132°F) prior to molding.
Be careful not to smash the rice grains and make them too sticky. If using a molding machine, it is helpful to add salad oil to the rice before cooking, or spray it onto the machine to enhance its performance. For best results, keep the sushi rice between 30° and 40°C (about 86° to 104°F) for molding.