August 23, 2008

All About Rice

By Stuart Turner

With the exception of sashimi most sushi dishes contain some amount of rice (even sashimi gets some rice on the side usually!).
To make great sushi you need the right sushi rice, cooked to perfection and seasoned with the right sushi rice seasoning. To make sushi rice you need a short grain rice. Sushi rice such as Koshihikari Japanese rice, short grain glutinous rice, sometimes known as pearl rice, is the best kind of rice to use. Similar to risotto rice but very different in taste.

I have used risotto rice before but for the best sushi rolls, use a branded “sushi rice” like Akitakomachi all readily available at many online Asian grocery stores. It’s worth the extra hunting around for ingredients as the taste is fantastic and it will have the correct adhesive qualities after all, rice is the biggest part of your sushi meal!

There are many kinds of rice available (some estimates say up to 38,000 varieties!) but sushi rice is special for it’s tendency to bind together perfectly for sushi. All these kinds of rice can be divided into three distinct categories; long, medium and short grain rice. All rice used in traditional sushi is short grain white rice. Along with the length of rice, varieties are also divided up by colour and content of fibre. Short grain sushi rice is almost round and is very starchy even when washed. It is this starch that makes sushi rice so sticky and great for the job of making things like nigiri.

Sushi, as we have all heard, is very healthy. The sushi rice plays a big part in this. White rice is basically brown rice with the husk polished off. This process removes a lot of the fibre from the rice. However it also leaves lots of carbohydrates to give you energy. In maki for example, there is a great deal of fibre from the nori wrapped around the roll, add to this all the vitamins and oils from the fish and you can see how healthy a diet that regularly includes sushi is.

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