The Japanese take the preparation of food extremely seriously, so much so that it can take up to 20 years to become a fully-fledged itamae 板前 (a chef in a Japanese restaurant). And if you want to know how sacrosanct sushi rice is, consider this – as an apprentice, only after around five years working with a master itamae are you given the hallowed task of preparing it (you’ll then spend a year or two mastering just this one skill).
Each sushi restaurant has its own "secret" recipe of rice, salt, and rice vinegar, just as each itamae has their own particular method and quirks. The rice used to create beautiful sushi has to be perfect – perfect consistency, and perfect flavour. But even if you don’t have an itamae to impress, there’s no reason why you can’t make some top notch sushi rice at home.
It all starts with the rice itself; there are many good brands of Japanese short grain. Rinse the rice in a colander or strainer until the water runs clear, then add to fresh water in a medium sized saucepan (the rice shouldn’t be crowded; 1.2:1 in favor of the water is the ideal ratio). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for eight minutes or so (when there is no more water, only bigger grains of rice in the pot, it’s ready).
Remove the rice with a wooden spoon – never use metal – and set aside in a bowl. Meanwhile, mix together 1/2 cup of rice vinegar (use a good brand, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a small pan, and heat gently until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Pour the mixture on the rice and mix well – keep stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is properly sticky. And that’s it – you’re now ready to make some nigiri or maki.We carry many different types of rice too, so if sushi isn’t your thing, we’ve still got you covered. Check out our selection, order some today, and get cooking!