Want to read more about sumeshi? Head this way »
Note: konbu is dried Japanese sea kelp. It is available in any Japanese supermarket. Look for pieces that are wide and flat with a distinct powdery white deposit on the surface. Make sure that the rice vinegar you are using is not labeled "seasoned" rice vinegar, which already has sugar added to it. I like my rice relatively highly seasoned, but the sugar and vinegar levels can be adjusted to taste.
- 3 cups short grain sushi rice
- 3 1/3 cups water
- 1 piece of konbu, about 4 by 3 inches (see note)
- 3/4 cup rice vinegar (see note)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
Place rice in fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water, gently agitating with hands until liquid runs clear. Add rinsed rice and water to rice cooker and cook. Alternatively, place in a heavy-bottomed 2 quart saucepot with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, turn heat to lowest setting, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
Meanwhile, combine konbu, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar and salt are dissolved.
Transfer rice to a 13-inch by 9-inch nonreactive casserole dish (like a pyrex) and spread gently into an even layer using a rice paddle. Aim a fan set to low directly at rice and keep it running during the rest of this step. Carefully sprinkle 3/4 of vinegar mixture over rice by drizzling it over the back of the rice paddle. Combine the rice and vinegar by gently folding it in with a cutting motion, being careful not to bruise or crush any rice grains. Taste rice and, if desired, add more of vinegar mixture. Continue fanning rice and folding until rice stops steaming and grains have achieved a slightly glossy texture that just sticks together when you squeeze them. Keep sushi rice at room temperature covered in a clean damp dish towel, or plastic wrap pressed directly against its surface.