In the Western world, rice is considered to be a pretty one dimensional food item. Whenever we think of rice, we think of it being served in a plain and mundane bowl all by itself with no supplementary ingredients or condiments. Believe it or not, rice can be an incredibly versatile food. You just need to expand your imagination and broaden the horizons of your culinary creativity to make good use of long grain rice. For example, rice is the key ingredient in one of the most delectable and cherished Japanese delicacies, the sushi. If you want to learn more about the kind of rice that is used for sushi and how it is cooked, then you have stumbled upon the right page on the internet.
The Sushi Rice or Shari
There was a time when sushi was only consumed by the people of Japan. Today, it has spread to the furthest corners of the globe. People from all around the world enjoy and deeply crave the taste of sushi. In America, sushi has become insanely popular, largely due to the commercialization of the classic California sushi roll. When sushi is combined with rice, it is referred to as shari. To create the perfect shari, you need to have a basic understanding of how the Japanese cook their rice. The process of cooking the rice is not overly complicated, but there is a certain degree of complexity that you need to appreciate in order to get the shari spot on. Japanese cooking is all about techniques and delicate balance of flavours. Cooking rice may be a walk in the park to you, but there is a lot technique involved in creating the perfect sushi rice.
There Are No Substitutes to Japanese Sticky Rice
In Japanese cuisine, rice dishes are made from sticky rice. The grains have to be pushed together gently in order to obtain the most desirable texture. Rice that is well separated and dry is usually not preferred in most Japanese dishes. A lot of people make the assumption that Japanese sushi rice can be easily substituted with long grain rice. This is a faulty assumption and one that should never be taken into consideration. You will come across home cooks that will tell you that long grain rice can be used in sushi as long as you cook it till it becomes mushy. If you try to do this, then your sushi rice is going to turn out to be a complete disaster and your dish will be ruined. Let us make one thing absolutely clear. There are no substitutes for sushi rice. If you want to cook sushi, you need to get your hands on the shinmai. The shinmai should be obtained fresh from the market. The fresher the rice is, the better the sushi is going to taste. Achieving excellence in Japanese cuisine is all about mastering the art of working with fresh ingredients.
Things You Need to Cook Sushi Rice
● An electric rice cooker (using technology will save you time). If you do not want to use an electronic rice cooker, then you can make use of a deep pot with a tight lid.
● Approximately 2 cups of uncooked, fresh Japanese shinmai rice
● 2 and a quarter cup of water. If you are using the electronic cooker, you can easily mark a level that will allow you to pour the exact amount of water inside the appliance.
● Sushi vinegar
Once you have all the ingredients that you need at hand, your first order of action is to rinse the rice grains. Rinsing can be an exhausting ordeal, but it is one that is absolutely necessary. Add water to the uncooked rice in the pot and keep rinsing the grains till the water turns white. After the colour has altered, you can drain out the water and refill the pot. Keep repeating the rinsing process till the colour of the water remains unchanged. With the final rinse completed, you can drain the water out with a sieve and keep the rice grains on the sieve for half an hour at least.
Before we get into the details, it is important for you to remember that cooking sushi rice is a process that should never be rushed. You should start cooking by adding water and the rinsed rice to the pot. Let the grains soak the water for a minimum of 40 minutes. After these 40 minutes, you can place the rice grains in the cooker and set the timer. If you are boiling the rice in the pot, then cook it at medium temperature while the lid is on. The key to getting the rice perfectly cooked is making timely temperature changes. Change the temperature to high for 60 seconds. Once the 60 seconds are up, bring the temperature down to medium and keep it there for 5 minutes. Finally, keep the heat low for 10 minutes till all the water gets evaporated.
Shaping Sushi Rice
To convert plain rice into sushi rice, you need to use a large plate and a spatula. Add a bit of the sushi vinegar to soften the rice without turning it into a messy mush. Mix the rice till it absorbs all of the vinegar.