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I'm on a quest of learning how to prepare a more than edible sushi. I figured that with enough practice I can achieve the goal of being able to make sushi. The most important part of sushi as I see it is the rice, and that's where I'm not really sure what I am doing wrong.

Although I'm making progress with the rice, it still comes out wrong, too sticky - ie not brittle enough - after it sticks it very hard to break, becomes a sort of Plasticine.

My question is, what variables should I try to change in order to make it less Plasticine? Cook it less, put less oil, boil it less time, let it steam on low fire more etc... Or more generally put, which parameters influence the texture of the rice and how?

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Are you sure you took the correct rice? There are kinds which will always cook sticky. –  rumtscho Apr 7 '11 at 17:30
    
@rumtscho I cooked it with 3 or 4 kinds of rices, the last two (one of them was specific sushi rice, and the other one simply a round rice) gave the same too sticky result. –  MeLight Apr 7 '11 at 18:05
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I thought it was a good thing if the rice sticks. You obviously don't want sushi to fall apart. –  Mien Apr 7 '11 at 21:30
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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In general, the stickiness of rice can be reduced by removing some of the starch by pre-soaking and/or washing the rice. For sushi rice, chewiness can be increased by reducing the amount of cooking water.

For what do you use oil? I don't believe that is a traditional ingredient in sushi rice.

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thanks for your reply! I've been told to put oil, so it don't stick to the pot. I should try your links and tips for reducing stickiness and report. –  MeLight Apr 7 '11 at 18:09
    
Ok, got a great texture! But it's kinda less cooked than I've expected :/ –  MeLight Apr 7 '11 at 20:10
    
That recipe has much too much rice vinegar, you rice will go slushy. One to two tablespoons of vinegar per cup of uncooked rice is all you need. Add the hot vinegar mix to the cooling, but still warm rice –  TFD Apr 7 '11 at 21:33
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Keep at it! A prospective itamae (sushi chef) spends the first 5+ years of his/her apprenticeship just practicing/learning how to make the rice! –  ESultanik Apr 8 '11 at 14:39
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I would give you a whole lot of individual pointers, but instead I give you the Serious Eats crew guide to sushi.

That said, washing your rice, and cutting in the vinegar are the most importsnt part of rice preparation as those two steps go a long way in detrimining final mouth feel. As long as you are using a short grain, high starch rice, that is.

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If you want to make sushi the way Japanese make it at home then follow these steps:

  1. Buy a decent quality bag of Japanese rice (short grain) from your asian mart or order it online.
  2. Buy a nice Japanese rice cooker (zojirushi brand or similar). Most have a sushi setting on the rice cooker.
  3. When the rice finishes use the rice spatula to break up the rice and to mix up the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. If you break it up too much it will become way too sticky. Breaking the rice will release starch.

BTW, you don't use any oil for sushi rice. Also, when you cook the rice, mix in some sake, and place a sheet of konbu (about 2x2 inch) Add some Sake (alcohol) to the water as well.

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