Sushi Rice

This recipe was originally found on All About Sushi Guide

Sushi rice in a hangiri

Sushi Rice Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Japanese short grain white rice (Look for "New Variety" or "First Crop" on the label)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sake
  • 2 cups of water (bottled water preferably) minus 2 tablespoons of water. Add 2 tablespoons of Sake to replace the 2 tablespoons of water in your second cup of water.
  • 4 x 6-inch piece of Kombu

Seasoning Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons plain Japanese Rice Vinegar (not "seasoned" rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (up to 1 teaspoon depending... see below*)
  • 5 tablespoons sugar (down to 2 tablespoons depending... see below*)
    • Note* I've started using 4 Tbs vinegar, 1 Tsp salt, 2 Tbs sugar, and 2 Tbs mirin for 2 cups rice. Up that to 6 Tbs vinegar, 1.5 Tsp salt, 3 Tbs sugar and 3 Tbs mirin for 3 cups rice.


First of all, don't leave out the sake and kombu! Without them, this rice will still be better than most rice, but these two ingredients are keys to truly great rice.

*Regarding the sugar and salt measurements in the Seasoning Ingredients: If you're actually making sushi with seafood, the sweeter recipe is perfect. You're welcome to adjust seasonings to your own taste. If you're not making sushi then decreasing the sugar and increasing the salt as outlined above might be for you.

A new hangiri
  1. Add the Seasoning Ingredients to a bowl and begin the process of dissolving a lot of sugar in a smaller amount of liquid. You can keep stirring it while the rice is cooking so that it is all dissolved when you're ready to pour it over the finished rice.
  2. Put the rice into the pot you will be cooking it in and rinse it very well. Use your hand to stir the rice around in the water, then drain and repeat 5 or 6 times until the water pours fairly clear from the pot. Drain the rice in a sieve after the last rinse
  3. Return the rice to the pot you'll be cooking it in, add the bottled water, sake, and kombu - just lay the kombu on top of the rice. Now let the rice sit, covered, for about 20 minutes so that it "whitens". This is a crucial step and must not be skipped. "Whitening" makes the rice shinier and creates the tell-tale texture of good sushi rice.
  4. After whitening, if you're using a pot or simple rice cooker, start the cooker or turn the heat on under the pot and bring to a boil. In a pot, cook for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat. In a simple rice cooker, just allow the cycle to complete.
  5. If using a pot or simple rice cooker, DO NOT open the lid after the cooking time has ended. Leave the rice covered for 20 minutes so it steams. "Fancy" rice cookers figure in this time to the cooking cycle so you don't have to worry about it.
  6. After 20 minutes of steaming, open the pot and fluff the rice with a wooden rice paddle. (Anything metal will damage the rice grains.) Re-cover the pot and allow to sit for another 5 minutes.
  7. Empty the rice into a large, shallow bowl or a wooden sushi bowl called a hangiri. (see image above.) Don't scrape the crusted rice off the bottom of the cooking bowl. Either just dispose of it, or scrape it into a different container for other uses.
  8. Using the wooden rice paddle, spread the rice out inside the bowl and pour the vinegar, salt, and sugar seasoning over the rice.
  9. If possible, set up a fan to blow across the rice while you use the wooden rice paddle to mix the rice using a side-to-side cutting motion. If you don't have a fan you can use a piece of cardboard or something similar to fan the rice with one hand while mixing as described with the other. Stop fanning when the rice is no longer wet and slippery, is fluffy, and each grain is shiny. (I got a Holmes Clip Fan to make this fanning a little easier.)
  10. Cool the dried rice to room temperature before making sushi, or store for use later if not making sushi.