Don’t get me wrong I LOVE going to sushi bars but don’t always want to leave the house, or pay $50+ for sushi. Learning this sushi rice recipe has saved me from spending a ton of extra money at sushi restaurants. It’s not much harder than just making plain white rice really.
As long as you have access to sushi grade fish, in a matter of an hour or so you can be well on your way to your own delicious nigiri and chirashi bowls for your sushi dinner party at home.
My favorite place to get sushi grade fish is from Mitsuwa Japanese supermarkets near me. They have a pretty wide selection, and it just feels clean in there.
Korean supermarkets often have sushi grade fish too, although it typically comes sliced already.
If you don’t have any markets near you to pick this up, I’ve actually used online sushi-grade fish delievery service that ships it next day to you with ice packs and the quality is pretty darn good even though everything will cost you more.
Cook the rice
I use a relatively affordable rice cooker to make all my rice. It provides consistent results, you don’t have to worry about watching it, timing it, or any kind of babysitting. Put in the rice, put in the water, press a button, and perfect rice comes out.
If you have a digital pressure cooker (like the Instant Pot, or any brand), these produce predictable results for rice too!
Of course not everyone eats enough rice to even spend $20-50 (or more) on a rice cooker. If you want to cook it on the stovetop you can too but there may be some trial and error to get the rice perfectly cooked (i.e. you may have to cook a few batches to nail it down).
Prepare & incorporate vinegar mixture
Salt, rice vinegar and sugar are the core of what makes sushi rice different than the regular rice we eat daily. You simply just mix these into a single bowl, mix to combine and slightly dissolve, and microwave for ~30 seconds to heat and further dissolve the ingredients.
This is going to smell up your microwave, kitchen, and everyone’s nostrils in the vicinity. Nuking any kind of vinegar will make it smell strong for sure! It will be fine once cooled a bit and mixed into the rice, but straight outta the microwave it will smell. Be warned!
After heating your vinegar mixture you want to incorporate it into the rice. The goal is to evenly coat each grain without smashing all the grains in the process.
I like to add a teaspoon or so at a time, then fold it into the rice. You can ‘slice’ into the rice, then fold a scoopful over, as if trying to work it into a delicate egg white foam or batter.
If you cooked the rice right, it won’t be too mushy or delicate, and obliterating the rice should not be too big a concern.
Form sushi rice for nigiri
It helps to keep a bowl of cold, filtered water nearby to wet your hands between each rice ball you form for nigiri. A thin coat of water helps prevents the rice from completely sticking to your hands. Keep a towel nearby to wipe your hands as you will eventually have to wipe rice off though.
Just form the rice in your hand roughly the length of your finger, using as much rice as you’d like. Some folks like nigiri to be large enough for two bites, and some prefer much less rice to fish ratios. I like rice, and not just as filler, but you do you!
If you want to avoid the whole nigiri shaping process, it’s super easy to just scoop the rice into a bowl and layer cut fish for chirashi bowl too.
- 2 cups short grain rice medium grain works in a pinch too. organic
- tap water for rinsing rice
- 2 cups filtered water
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar organic
- 1 tsp salt
- Rinse the rice in a bowl over running tap water. Add about 1-2 cups of water, stir then drain. Do this about two or three times until the water is clear. To be honest, it's not crystal clear by three rinses but I don't go beyond that.
Option 1: Cook rice using a rice cooker
- Add the rice and water to the rice cooker pot, make sure the rice is flat and level with the bottom of the pot since it can shift during the rinse or transport. Push the start button.
- After the rice cooker beeps in about 15-20 minutes indicating it's ready, take the pot out and let it cool on the counter for about 10 minutes.
Option 2: Cook rice on the stovetop
- Add rice and water to a medium pot over high heat without a lid and bring to a boil. Once it hits a boil, lower heat to low and cover with a lid.
- Don't open the lid, don't mix the rice or bother it while it does its thing. After 15 minutes, open the lid and try a grain of rice for doneness. It should be slightly firm, but fluffy, and not hard or chalky inside. If it's too raw, close the lid and add more cook time as needed. Once done let the rice cool for 10 minutes off the heat.
- Combine the rice vinegar, salt, and sugar in a small microwave safe bowl. Stir to combine and microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir to see if its fully dissolved and microwave another 15 seconds or so if needed.
- Move the warm rice to a large mixing bowl. A wooden one will help by absorbing the water a bit as it cools, but metal or glass works just fine too.
- Stir the vinegar mixture before each addition into the bowl, adding 1/2 tbsp at a time as you gently fold the mixture into the rice. The goal is to cover each grain evenly with this mixture, without smashing the grains of rice. Once you've added all the mixture, let the rice cool to room temperature before using.