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Rice for Sushi

sushi rice.jpg

Rice is important in sushi. Really important. What makes sushi rice sticky is the extra glutinous quality inherent in this Japanese short-grain variety. And the sticky factor is what holds your sushi use only sushi rice. Be sure to rinse your grains a few times until the water runs clear – besides cleaning the grains, you are rinsing away excess starch produced when the rice is milled. Sticky sushi rice is great, but gluey sushi rice...not so much.While a rice cooker is not a necessity, if you enjoy rice often and like to make sushi, a good rice cooker can be an invaluable investment. I recommend going with a Japanese rice cooker (like Zojirushi).  

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 6 cupsServings


  • 18 oz. (21⁄4 cups) sushi rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1. Pour rice into a large bowl and wash in cold water, rubbing grains gently. Drain and repeat three or four times until water runs clear. Soak rice in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes until grains turn milky white. 

2. While rice soaks, combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside. 

3. If using rice cooker: transfer rice to the bowl of the rice cooker; add water to level indicated in rice cooker pan for 3 cups. Close lid and switch on. When rice is done, let it "rest" in rice cooker for 15 minutes to absorb excess moisture. 

4. If cooking on stovetop: transfer rice to a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then immediately cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 18 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Do not peek early or you will interrupt the steaming process. When rice is done, let it "rest" in rice cooker for 15 minutes to absorb excess moisture. 

5. Loosen cooked rice with rice spatula. Dump rice into a large, wide, shallow, non-reactive dish. Pour vinegar mixture evenly over rice and mix using a spatula in a cutting and folding motion. The vinegar seasoning must be mixed while rice is hot. 

6. As you are folding in the vinegar mixture, fan the rice briskly with a hand or electric fan to evaporate excess moisture. Continue fanning and mixing until the rice has absorbed all liquid and takes on a glossy appearance. 

Recipe originally published in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Fall 2014 Subscribe Now

Fall 2014 Magazine