Any sushi lover knows that rice is one of the critical ingredients of this traditional Japanese dish.
And even though it might be tricky, it’s possible to make your own sushi at home. All you need is raw fish or any other type of seafood of your choice and rice (and any other ingredients you want in your sushi).
When it comes to the rice, do you know which rice is best for sushi?
Traditionally, there is a particular type of rice that Japanese chefs use for sushi, and it’s called sushi rice. This type of rice is actually made from short-grain Japanese rice.
However, if you can’t find it, you can use other types of rice to make sushi, like Calrose rice and brown rice. Read on to learn more.
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Can You Use Any Rice for Sushi?
Technically, you can use many different types of rice for your homemade sushi, but it will definitely not taste the same as sushi rice.
One of the main characteristics of sushi rice is its stickiness, which allows it to stick to the fish and other sushi ingredients. Regular white rice is too fluffy, but if you cook it in a certain way and add the right ingredients, you can make it sticky.
According to its shape, we can classify rice into three categories: short-grain, medium-grain, and long-grain rice.
Keep in mind that you can only make sushi from short-grain to medium-grain rice, but short-grain rice is always the best option. In some Japanese recipes, medium-grain and short-grain rice are mixed together.
Whatever you do, don’t try making sushi with long-grain rice (like Jasmine rice or Basmati rice).
Even though long-grain rice is the most commonly used type of rice in Japanese cuisine, it’s not used for sushi. This is because it doesn’t contain enough starch, which makes the rice stick.
Best Types of Rice for Sushi
It can sometimes be hard to make food taste the same as it did when you tried it in a restaurant. That being said, if you have the right ingredients, you can make it taste very close to the original.
Unfortunately, the best kind of rice can be very difficult to come by when it comes to sushi, and some strains can only be found in Japan.
Otherwise known as Japonica rice, Japanese rice is one of the best strains of rice you can add to your sushi recipe. It comprises ordinary rice and glutinous rice, and both of these strains are short-grained.
Ordinary Japanese rice, otherwise called uruchimai, is used in almost every Japanese food recipe. This type of rice is short-grain, making it ideal for sushi, rice balls, and countless other Japanese recipes.
Glutinous rice, otherwise known as mochigome, is much stickier than ordinary Japanese rice, but it’s only used to make traditional Japanese sweets, like mochi cake.
One of the most high-quality strains of Japanese rice is the so-called koshihikari rice. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive types of rice, but you can find it in almost every Japanese supermarket.
Some people tend to confuse sushi and Japanese rice, and others think they are two completely different strains of rice.
In reality, sushi rice is made by steaming and adding vinegar to Japanese rice. That’s why the Japanese name for sushi rice is sumeshi, translated as ‘vinegar rice.’
While Japanese rice can be used for various Japanese recipes, sushi rice, as the name implies, can only be used for making sushi.
If you want to make traditional sushi rice, you will need short-grain Japanese rice, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Once you wash and rinse the rice a couple of times, soak it for about 30 minutes.
To make sushi rice, a rice cooker would be the best option. But if you don’t have one, you can always use a regular pot.
Once the rice is cooked, you need to season it with vinegar, salt, and sugar. Your sushi will have that ideal balance of sour, salty, and sweet taste by adding all three of these ingredients.
Remember, sushi rice is supposed to be sticky. If it’s mushier than sticky, it means that you may have overcooked it.
If you can’t find Japanese rice, the best alternative is to use Calrose rice. Unlike traditional Japanese rice, which is short-grained, Calrose rice is medium-grained.
This strain of rice was cultivated in California, where it has been grown since 1950.
In fact, Calrose rice is so popular in America that most Japanese restaurants will opt for this strain of rice for their recipes. That’s why many refer to Calrose rice as the Western version of authentic Japanese rice.
Since this strain of rice has a somewhat mild flavor, it’s used for sushi and for a variety of recipes.
When you want to cook it, it’s best to wash and rinse it out with water. That way, all the excess starch will be washed away. You should cook it for about 20 minutes, and afterward leave it to steam for another 10 minutes.
So it Calrose rice, sushi rice? Depends on how you look it, but it is commonly used today for sushi.
Although it’s not common to use brown rice for sushi, some people prefer this option as it has 15% fewer calories than white rice.
Brown rice also has a stronger flavor, so keep that in mind when you use it for your sushi recipe. Since it takes more time to boil, some people avoid this option.
Nonetheless, this type of rice is definitely the healthiest.
Types of Rice to Avoid for Sushi
There are a couple types of rice people often consider for their sushi that I don’t recommend.
So, which rice is best for sushi? There’s really only one correct answer. If you want to make traditional Japanese sushi, then sushi rice is the best option.
It’s easy to make, and it will give your sushi the authentic, delicious flavor that you can only find in Japanese restaurants.