How to Make Sushi Rice


Measure the Rice
(Short- or Medium-Grain White Rice)

It is best to accurately weigh the rice with a scale (as the quality of cooked rice tends to vary if not weighed). If using a measuring cup, make sure to level off the top.

The type of rice used is optional, depending on personal taste. However, the following conditions should be maintained:

  • Sift through your rice by hand to eliminate any broken, cracked, or immature grains.
  • The rice should be properly milled, leaving a sheen on the kernels with no bran residue on the germ.
  • Sufficient moisture set at a level higher than 14% is preferred. Sufficient moisture protects against cracking during water absorption, but too much water gives rise to mold.
  • The rice should have been milled less than a week before the date of cooking.
  • The optimum amount of rice to be cooked at once should be no more or less than about 80% of a rice cooker’s capacity.


Rinse the Rice

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.


Soak the Rice

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.


Add water to the rice

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:

Soaking and adding water are regarded as one step.

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 

The suggested amounts of total 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.


Steam the rice

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.

  1. Heating (20-25 minutes)           
  2. Settling (20-30 minutes)
  3. Total cooking time: 40-55 minutes


Rice should be allowed to settle after cooking because:

  • Moisture distribution in the cooker is uneven immediately after cooking. By allowing time for the rice to settle, any extra moisture on the surface of the grain is evaporated, thus evening out the moisture content of each grain.
  • Gelatinization is incomplete unless the rice is kept at a temperature higher than 98°C, or about 210°F, for approximately 20 minutes. The cooking process alone does not provide enough heat (a temperature over 98°C), a condition that is compensated for by allowing time for the rice to settle.

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.


Add Sushi Seasoning to the rice

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.


Cool the rice

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.


Mold the rice

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.


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