Rys, arroz, ris, iris, rizs, padi, riso, rijist, rya, ore, kome. It all means one thing; rice! There are so many different kinds of rice used in cooking. Basmati, jasmine, short grain brown, long grain white, forbidden, wild, arborio, and the list goes on. Here at Kome, we use Japonica (Oryza sativa); a japanese short grain white rice that is grown in California. We use this rice for our sushi, yaki-onigiri, as well as our sides of rice. Read on for a little insight into our rice making…
We first pour our rice into a very large colander with tiny little holes so as not to lose the grains. We rinse the rice two or three times, or until the water runs clean. This will get rid of starch that has been generated by the natural rubbing together of the grains, allowing for a slightly less sticky cooked product. Since we are using a short grain rice it will retain some of it's stickiness.
We then allow the rice to cook in our rice cooker. For our sides of rice and our yaki-onigiri, the rice is done. To make our sushi rice, there is more work to be done. We temper the rice with a rice vinegar/sugar mixture, adding it slowly and gently folding the mixture in to coat each grain of rice. The rice is then allowed to cool so our sushi chefs can comfortably handle the rice to make your sushi.
Interested in making your own sushi rice at home? Here's a very simple recipe following the steps we use in our kitchen!
1 cup Japanese sushi rice or short grain rice
1 cup water, plus extra for rinsing the rice
2+1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash the rice under running water for 1 to 2 minutes until the water runs clear. Take the clean rice and place gently in a pot, adding the water (there should be just a bit of water covering the rice).
Cook rice over high heat, stirring every minute or two, until the water boils. When your rice reaches boiling, lower the heat to minimum and cover the pot. After about 6 to 8 minutes, check the water level - if there is no more water and only big grains of rice in the pot, your rice is ready. If not, check back every minute so as not to burn the rice at the bottom.
Remove the cooked rice from the pot with a *wooden* spoon. This is key because a metal spoon may damage the rice and can also react with the vinegar. Do not try to scrap any of the rice from the bottom of the pot - that rice is dry and burned so it will not taste good. Place the rice is a wooden bowl to rest.
Mix together the vinegar, sugar, and salt over medium heat until all the solids are mixed in. Pour the liquid mixture over the rice and gently fold to coat each grain.
Allow the rice to cool a few minutes at room temperature. (Do not put the rice in the fridge, it will damage the rice.)