Sushi Rice is cooked sticky rice with added seasonings which is then combined with various fillings and flavours to form what we call ‘sushi’. Sticky rice is cooked by the absorption method which is super simple and really quite speedy with a multitude of uses – not just sushi!
I’ve been obsessed with East Asian food for quite some time but until quite recently have always avoided Sushi. The raw fish thing put me off, I didn’t eat prawns until a few years ago, I dislike horseradish/wasabi and nori (the seaweed coating) never looked appetising. But recently I had a word with myself. When I cook salmon I keep it practically raw in the middle, I love sticky rice, I love king prawns and who said I had to smother everything in wasabi? So I tried some. And I liked it, actually no, I loved it. Naturally the next thing to do was to try and make it myself. In late 2017, I hosted a big Japanese inspired feast for my friends and sushi was the natural starter/appetiser to make for a crowd. It wasn’t hard to make and it was a massive hit.
It is a common misconception that ‘sushi’ refers to raw fish whereas ‘sushi’ actually refers to the rice. You can have a sushi roll without raw fish but you can’t have a sushi roll without rice. You keeping up with this? Good!
Types of Sushi
I’ve tried more Sushi since my initial dabblings and researched some more unusual preparations. I’ve been experimenting with varied textures, flavours and preparations. The main types of Sushi that I’ve been looking at are:
Maki – Traditional looking rolls with something wrapped in sushi rice then wrapped in nori.
Uramaki – inside out rolls – something wrapped in nori then wrapped in sushi rice and coated in something like sesame seeds.
Nigiri – A block of rice topped with something – usually thinly sliced raw fish or cooked prawn.
Onigiri – Stuffed rice balls. I like to deep fry them!
Sashimi – This is raw fish when its not paired with ‘sushi’ rice. Often marinated to a point – a little like ceviche. Sake is a common marinade.
How to Eat
Apart from sushi related applications like my Raw Salmon Maki, Crab Uramaki and Miso Scallop Onigiri with Miso Mayo, I use this method of cooking sticky rice for all manner of different dishes like my Korean Belly Pork with Sticky Rice and Soy Kale and Tangy Japanese Style Sweet Chilli Salmon with Sticky Rice. I also use the rice plain on the side of a larger asian inspired platter – maybe with some miso soup and some of my steamed dumplings.
My top money saving tip when buying sushi rice (which is available in all of the major supermarkets) is to actually head to the desserts aisle and buy pudding rice. It is usually next to those ready baked sponge tart cases that I’ve never seen anyone buy/use/eat and the tinned strawberries. You are simply looking for a short grain white rice with lots of starch – the stickiness that you want in a rice pudding is exactly what you want in sticky/sushi rice. Currently (Sept 2018) in Sainsburys’; sushi rice is £4.00 per kg and pudding rice is £2.00 per kg. Go figure!
You must use a pan with a lid to cook the rice. I like to use one of my wooden lidded enamel pans – whilst trying to find you an example, I came across this lovely blue set* and now I want some of these! I have enamel related issues! To create an even better seal, I lay a square of kitchen roll over the top of the pan before jamming the lid on. Nice and tight. Lovely. And no peeking!
This recipe makes roughly enough to make 16 large pieces of uramaki or maki. (2 rolls)
200g Sushi/Pudding Rice
400ml Cold Water
2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Sugar
1.2 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
Measure 200g of Sushi Rice into a sieve and run under the cold tap for 30 seconds or so whilst swishing the rice around a little with your fingers to separate the grains.
Put the washed rice into a large saucepan (one with a lid) along with 400ml Cold Water.
Turn the heat onto medium and keep a close eye on it until the water is boiling.
Put the pan lid on and make sure it is well sealed – I tend to sandwich a square of kitchen roll between the pan and lid to get a better seal. Turn the heat onto the lowest it will go and set a timer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, turn the heat off but do not touch the pan – certainly don’t take the lid off. The rice then sits for another 10 minutes to continue steaming.
Meanwhile, add 2 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar, 2 tbsp Sugar and 1/2 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes to a small bowl. Give it 20 seconds in the microwave and keep stirring until the sugar and salt has mostly melted into the vinegar.
Once the rice has finished steaming, separate the rice a little using a large metal spoon or fork – make sure not to stir and make it into a mush.
Add the sweet vinegar mixture into the rice and stir around to combine.
The rice now needs to cool – to speed up the process, I spread the rice in a thin layer on a tray and leave it. Once cool to the touch, I put in a bowl, cover it and leave in the fridge until needed.
Let me know how you use your sushi rice in the comments!
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Fried Miso Scallop Onigiri with Miso Mayo
Tangy Japanese Style Sweet Chilli Salmon with Sticky Rice
Ramen with Korean Belly Pork
Vietnamese Prawn Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce
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