2000s Recipes + Menus

Sushi Rice

Makes 6 cups rice
  • Active time:10 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/4 hr
August 2008
Sushi rice is the foundation of any sushi—including the recipe for the summery, easy–to–prepare pressed version found in this month’s Kitchen Notebook.

Watch Hiroko Shimbo demonstrate the technique for making the perfect sushi rice.
  • 2 1/4 cups sushi rice (preferably Japanese; not “new crop”)
  • 2 1/4 cups water
  • 5 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Equipment:

    a sushi-oke (also called hangiri; Japanese wooden bowl) or large unfinished wooden salad bowl; a wooden or plastic rice paddle
  • Fill a large bowl with cold water and set rice in a large fine-mesh sieve in water. Gently swish grains with your hands until water is cloudy. Drain and repeat 3 more times until water is almost clear, then drain rice in sieve 10 minutes.
  • Soak rice in water (2 1/4 cups) in a deep 5- to 6-qt heavy pot 20 minutes. Wrap lid with 2 layers of foil to form a tight seal and cover pot. Cook rice over medium-high heat, covered tightly, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to very low and cook 10 minutes more. Quickly lift lid to check that rice looks transparent and is cooked completely. (If not, sprinkle with warm water and continue cooking over low heat, 2 to 3 minutes more.) Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.
  • While rice soaks, soak sushi-oke (if using) and rice paddle (if using a wooden one) in a sink of cold water (to keep rice from sticking), at least 30 minutes. If using a wooden bowl, moisten and wipe dry just before using (do not soak).
  • Stir together vinegar, sugar, and sea salt in a small bowl until sugar and salt have dissolved.
  • Just before using, pat sushi-oke dry. Transfer all of hot rice to sushi-oke (do not scrape any crust that may have formed on bottom of pot) and break up rice clumps with paddle, then evenly drizzle vinegar mixture on top. Working in one area at a time, “cut” into rice with paddle in small strokes gently but quickly, turning rice to absorb vinegar evenly and breaking up any clumps (avoid breaking grains). Rotate bowl and repeat “cutting” rice in other areas of bowl until rice is no longer clumpy and vinegar mixture is evenly absorbed, about 2 minutes total. Using a fan or folded newspaper, fan rice 30 seconds, then cool to warm room temperature. Keep rice moist, covered with a damp towel, at room temperature until ready to use (up to 2 hours).
Cooks’ notes: Rice can be cooked in a rice cooker. For 6 cups cooked rice, use 3 rice-cooker measuring cups each of rice and water. Follow manufacturer’s instructions, then proceed with recipe.
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