How To Make Sushi: Sticky Rice

Make perfect sticky rice for sushi at home with nothing more than a heavy pot, a tight fitting lid and a cotton kitchen towel.

Growing up in a family of five children shortly after the depression, rice was one of our staple foods. I can remember many times mom would sigh in frustration because the rice she had prepared for dinner was not fluffy as she had hoped. She would scrape it off the sides of the pan complaining it was "sticky again". What mom didn't realize was many Japanese chefs would have paid to learn her technique for making the perfect sticky rice for sushi.

Today people go out and buy sticky rice steamers and all kinds of fancy gadgets. But you can make perfect sticky rice at home with nothing more than a heavy pot, a tight fitting lid and a tea towel or any cotton kitchen towel that will absorb moisture.

The most important thing to know about rice is the shorter the grain the starchier it is. When purchasing rice to make sticky rice for sushi, choose short or medium grain.



Ok we're ready to begin; so put on your apron and let's get cooking.

Some people call this tezu others call it sushi-su. I simply call it the seasoning you add to your sticky rice. Regardless of what you call it; make sure you prepare it ahead of time.

Ingredients for seasoning solution:

4 tbsp rice vinegar

4 tbsp sugar

1 tsp of salt

Mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan. Using a low heat, stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.

Ingredients for Sticky Rice - makes approximately 4 rolls

2 cups raw rice (short or med grain)

2 cups water

First you want to remove the talc and dust off the rice. To do this simply put the rice in a sieve or colander and keep rinsing it under cold water until the waters runs clear. Then, let it drain for an hour.

Next put the rice and water into a heavy pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Let the rice steam for 15 minutes with the cover on at all times. Now remove the pan from the heat and take off the cover just long enough to stretch a clean tea towel or any cotton kitchen towel over the pot and replace the cover. Keep the pan covered and off the heat to finish steaming for another 15 minutes. After the rice has steamed properly, use a wooden spoon or spatula and gently fold the rice. Do not use a stirring motion because you want to avoid smashing the grains.

Put the hot rice into a large bowl and immediately add the seasoned rice vinegar solution. Fold well, again trying not to smash the grains. After mixing, fan the hot rice mixture to release any excess moisture and to help it cool. This usually takes about 10 or 15 minutes. The rice grains will look shiny; have a chewy consistency and will feel slightly sticky.

Cover the bowl with a damp cloth until you're ready to assemble your sushi. Do not refrigerate. Rice is best if used within an hour or so.

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