Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sushi Rice

I have a little bit of Calrose rice left to use up before Passover.  I happen to like sticky rice, so I keep it on hand as a base for stir-fry and rice-based salads.  I accidentally bought more rice wine vinegar because I thought I was out, making this a Pantry Project recipe.

"Sushi" refers to the rice you use to serve the fish, just as "sashimi" is the fish without rice.  The vinegar, salt, and sugar used to season the rice acts as a short-term preservative for the raw fish.  "Nigiri sushi" on a menu means fish with just a specific amount of rice and probably wasabi, as opposed to "tekka" or a hand roll, which include seaweed.  The dish called "Onigiri" is a plainly cooked, unseasoned rice with some kind of garnish.  I tend to use sushi rice for onigiri, which is completely not authentic, but I like the taste.

You'll notice that the dressing ingredients are almost identical to those of sunomono.  Same basic flavor profile, but it's more subtle in the rice.

*1 C medium- or short-grain white rice, such as Calrose
2 Tb rice wine vinegar
1 Tb sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1.  Soak rice briefly in cold water to rinse off the dust that always accumulates on rice.  The water doesn't have to run clear, but you should drain it off and refill the pot two or three times.

2.  In a small saucepan, cover rice with 1 C cold water.  Slowly bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to its lowest, and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to sit 10 more minutes.  If rice appears too dry, add 1/4 C water.  Stir only briefly to disperse it.

3.  In a small bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Microwave for 15 seconds to help dissolve the solids.  Turn out rice into a bowl and fold dressing into it with a wooden paddle.  You don't want to overwork the rice, but you need to keep it moving until it reaches room temperature or it will stick together oddly.  This can take 15 minutes or more.

4.  Once cooled to room temperature, rice is ready to be used in sushi or other dishes.

Difficulty rating  :)

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