How to Cook Sushi Rice

How to Prepare Sushi Rice (Makes approximately 1kg of rice)

Sushi should really only be made using short grain Japonica rice from Japan, California or Italy. Sushi has been developed and refined in Japan over the course of centuries, using local ingredients, so perhaps it is only natural that Japanese rice works best, although Californian and Italian rice can also give good results.


Rice500g uncooked, matured Japanese or Californian short grain rice

NoteSushi should never be made using long grain rice, as it is too dry to shape.

Water625ml cold water

NoteQuantities may be varied according to the amount of rice required, but the ratio of uncooked rice to water should be one part rice to one and a quarter parts water.

120ml sushi vinegar

NoteIf you want to make your own mix, combine 200ml rice vinegar, 120ml granulated sugar and 2.5g salt in a non-aluminium saucepan, and heat until the sugar dissolves, then set aside to cool.
NoteAlthough the recipe only calls for 120ml of vinegar, you will need extra to make tezu or vinegared hand-dipping water.


ShamojiHandai (Wooden bowl)

NoteIf you don't have a handai, you can use a shallow container with a flat bottom.

Shamoji (flat wooden scoop) or a spatula

UchiwaUchiwa (paper fan)

NoteIf using a rice cooker, measure the required amount of rice using the measuring cup supplied with the cooker, and use the amount of water indicated on the inside wall of the cooker. If in doubt refer to your cooker’s instruction manual. Follow the instructions below, but at stage 3, place required amount of rice and water, and konbu (dried kelp) if using, in the rice cooker and switch on. When the rice is cooked, leave it in the cooker for 10 minutes without removing the lid. Then return to stage 5 of the instructions below.

How to Make

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Place the rice in a bowl. Pour in some water and swill the bowl to remove any impurities, then drain the water, using your palm as a barrier.

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Pour in more water and wash the rice by stirring with your palm, then drain the water again. Repeat 3-5 times, until the water remains clear.


When draining for the final time, use a sieve and let the rice drain for 30 minutes to absorb the moisture on the surface. Another method is to leave the rice in a bowl of water for 30 minutes to absorb water. Either method will result in better sushi rice.

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Place the rice and 625ml of water in a saucepan with a tight-fitting lit. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. When the boiling point is reached, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for a further 10 minutes. Leave the lid on during this cooking process.

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Next, use a spatula to remove the rice from the pan, and place in a wide, shallow container, ideally the traditional Japanese cypress wood rice tub known as ahandai. Spread the rice evenly across the bowl using the spatula, taking care not to crush the kernels.

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Add the Sushi Vinegar promptly, pouring it as evenly as possible over the rice. Using the spatula, make gentle cutting and folding movements to mix the vinegar thoroughly into the rice, being sure not to crush the kernels by mashing or stirring.

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As you cut and fold the vinegar through the rice, fan the rice with a paper fan to ensure it cools down quickly. It should take about 10 minutes for the rice to cool down, by which point all the rice should be evenly coated with vinegar.

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You should be left with rice that has a beautiful lustre, and does not stick together in lumps or clumps. It should ideally be used within an hour of preparation, and should never be refrigerated.