D.I.Y. Sushi Part 1: The Rice

RiceFor our very first Valentine’s Day together, John and I decided to make sushi together. It was not the first time I had made sushi in my life, but it was the first time I wanted to impress someone with my sushi-making skills. That made me nervous because there a lot of things to mess up when making homemade sushi.

We actually managed to do a great job, but I think we ended up eating about 2 hours later than expected. Since then, we’ve picked up some tips to make the whole process much
easier. Now, we whip up our own sushi almost as often as we go out for it!

This series of posts will outline the 4 main components of sushi-making that used to make us cringe and how we have mastered them: the rice, the filling, the rolling, the cutting.

Today’s Focus…

Sushi Rice

The Rice!

The perfect sushi rice should be tender but still have a bite. It should be sticky but still maintain loosely separated grains. It should be seasoned well but should not overpower the fish. There is a lot of room for error here.

I learned a lot about how to prepare sushi rice from this article from Serious Eats. It seems a bit fussy, but it is very informative, and I actually skip most of the fussy steps.  Everything else is pretty easy.  I have messed this up zero times.

File Jul 09, 12 50 05 PMFirst of all, you must start with the correct rice. It must be short grain. It also must be rinsed it like crazy. I put it in the pot, cover it with water, wash it, and then pour it out.  Repeat 15 times or so.  I’m not kidding about that.  It takes awhile.

Starchy water.  Not Ready!

Starchy water. Not Ready!


Clear water. Ready!

Choosing the correct rice and rinsing until the water runs clear will help you with that sticky-but-not-too-stickiness.

File Jul 09, 4 07 24 PMNext, you need to cook it. I use one cup of water, plus a tiny bit more for every cup of rice. I also recommend using a rice cooker. No need to pay attention to this bad boy, so I can focus on other stuff for the sushi prep.

File Jul 09, 4 07 56 PMThen, you need to season the rice. I use a combination of sugar, unseasoned rice vinegar and kosher salt. Those ingredients are staples in my pantry. Keep it simple.

DSC_0006When mixing in the seasoning, be gentle with the rice grains. If you stir vigorously, they will get smooshed, which is not ideal. It’s also recommended that you mix in a pan with a large area so the rice can cool more quickly.

This is the Serious Eats recipe you can use to make perfect sushi rice!

Below is my simplified version.  I also changed the ingredient measurements to make a smaller portion of rice. My batch of rice makes enough for approximately seven sushi rolls.

Sushi Rice


2 cups short grain white rice
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons filtered watered
2/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs. plus 2 tsp. granulated sugar


    1. Rinse the rice in your pot until the water runs clear.  Drain the water from the rice.
    2. Add the filtered water to your rice.
    3. Cook in your rice cooker until it clicks off.  Then, let it sit and steam for about 10 minutes.  You can also cook it on the stove top: bring the rice to a boil in a covered pot, simmer on low for 15 minutes Then, turn off the heat and let it sit and steam for 10 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
    4. While the rice is cooking, measure the vinegar, salt, and sugar into a microwave safe vessel (I just use my liquid measuring cup).  Heat it for one minute and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.  You can also do this on the stove top.
    5. When the rice has finished steaming, gently scoop the rice into a non-reactive, shallow pan. (I use a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex). Serious Eats recommends having a fan blowing on the rice from this point on.  I do not do this, but I do always have a nice breeze going through my kitchen and that helps cool the rice.
    6. Spread the rice into a thin layer and sprinkle the vinegar mixture onto the rice.  (If you do not like your rice highly seasoned, you may want to try using just half at first.)
    7. Fold the vinegar mixture into the rice.  When it is all mixed in your rice will be nice and shiny.
    8. Cover the pan with a clean towel until you are ready to roll your sushi.  Do not refrigerate the rice.

Okay, now you are ready for Step 2: The Filling!


2 thoughts on “D.I.Y. Sushi Part 1: The Rice

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