Thursday, April 1, 2010

もち米 Sushi Rice Basics

こんにちわ! The Gaijin Gourmet is back with another how to for you! Every now and then I will find myself talking about making Japanese dishes when someone stops me in mid sentence going ちょっと まって ください (whoa-wait)! "how do you make Japanese sticky rice???" I say to them not to feel embarrassed if you didn’t already know how. (I sure didn’t learn over night until I was shown how to properly make it myself). It’s a fair and most basic question to ask and so I felt it was about time I covered this most basic and essential component to Japanese Cooking.

So let’s get to it! はじめましょう!

The first thing you’ll need of course is some good quality short grained rice. Your choice of rice is an important factor when you consider both taste and quality. If you have access to a Japanese market or an Asian market, you will have some decent choices to choose from. JFC has three brands Nozomi, Tamanishiki, and Yume. They are all excellent short grained rice to work with. We personally like Matsuri Premium Rice.

You can use other rice such as Shirakiku Calrose Rice but there will be some extra work involved as I will go on to explain here.

Now the difference between American methods of cooking rice and Japanese methods vary in both the ratios of rice to water and preparation. Now growing up I was always taught to use 2 Cups Water to each Cup of Rice then add butter. This will not do! For Japanese cooking your ratio will always be one cup of water to each cup of rice.
So let's start with one cup of rice. Before you go straight to adding your one cup of water you'll need to WASH YOUR RICE! なに? Yes that's right. You'll need to wash the rice. This is very important!

To wash your rice run cold water and rinse your rice repeatedly. When you first pour water into the rice pot the water will appear cloudy. You’ll want to rinse that cloudy water and drain over and over again until the water appears clear. With good rice you can accomplish this in six or seven rinses. The colder the water is the better your rice will wash. If you are using lesser quality rice you can find your self rinsing twice as much but with hard work and determination you can still produce sticky rice.

Once your rice water is crystal clear, you can drain one last time and now add that one cup of cold water equal to the cup of rice that has been washed. Add a pinch of salt and stir it around the pot once. The salt will help prevent the rice from sticking to the pot thus eliminating the American need for using butter. This is actually healthier for you.

Now that you are ready to go turn on your stove and bring to a boil. Make sure your rice is covered and periodically stir. Once the water is nearly completely gone, turn off the heat and stir once and quickly cover. Next shake the pot from side to side for two shakes. This will help absorb any residual water. Let it stand for at least two to three minutes.

Next add Rice Vinegar. This is the most crucial ingredient! Add between half to one capful of rice vinegar according to taste then stir. This is what truly gives the sticky rice it’s flavor. You can find rice vinegar in pretty much any Asian foods section in the US or Japanese market. If you want to take one additional traditional step; use a small towel and place over the pot to go under the cover. This helps retain moisture and keeps the rice from going hard. If you have a bamboo rice pot even better!

Now if you have followed all of these easy steps,
You too will now master sushi rice!

1 comment:

  1. Um... you know you shouldn't use mochikome to make sushi, right?

    Also, you might want to add a small amount of salt and sugar to the vinegar before you mix it with the rice.

    After you add the flavored vinegar be sure to fan the rice while mixing it to evaporate the excess liquid and coat every grain well!