One may not think much of making Japanese sushi rice. But in Japan they give lots of attention to details to make the sushi rice right. For our home use we do not need to be that much particular, but should follow the basic steps.

The art of making Japanese sushi rice

Making a good sushi rice starts with buying good sushi rice, which is characterized by short grain, rounded kernels amongst others. Then the washing of the rice is important. Starch needs to be removed from the surface and the washing requires attention. The rice is pre-soaked, but cooked with a little less water than ordinary rice and then sprinkled with sushi vinegar. Then the rice is carefully mixed and let cool down, before using it to make battera, nigiri or tamaki!

Special equipment

  • rice cooker
  • wooden spatula
    sushi rice: ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

    Sushi rice

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
    Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
    Cuisine Japanese
    Servings 8


    Ingredients to make the rice

    • 3 cups short grain (sushi) rice (washed)
    • 3 cups water
    • 1/2 cup sushi vinegar (see below for the recipe)

    Ingredients to make the sushi vinegar

    • 1 2 inch by one inch piece of kombu (dried kelp)
    • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp kosher or sea salt (use 1 tbsp when using regular salt)


    Instruction to make the sushi rice

    • Measure 3 cups of sushi rice and place in a pot. Add water to the pot and stir the rice with your hand, then decant the water and repeat. Do this until the water has become clear indicating that the starch has been washed from the surface.
    • Drain the rice and let it dry in the air for around 20 min.
    • Then place in the rice cooker and add 3 cups of fresh water. Soak for half hour before to cook until ready

    Instruction to make the 'vinegared' sushi rice

    • While the rice is hot, place it in a large bowl
    • Sprinkle a half cup of the sushi vinegar over the hot rice. You can use the back of a spatula to pour the vinegar on, so it sprinkles better.
    • Then gently fold the rice with a wooden rectangular spatula to distribute all the sushi vinegar evenly. Make sure not to smash the grains.
    • Then cover with a clean cloth, pressed to the surface of the rice and let the rice cool to just above room temperature. Then the cooked sushi rice is ready to make sushi with!

    Instruction to make the sushi vinegar

    • wipe the kombu with a damp towel to remove any dirt, but leave the white stuff on as this contains wonderful umami tasting materials
    • Then mix all ingredients and cook at medium high heat while stirring often to dissolve the sugar, one minute. Do not let the mixture boil
    • Then let it cool down to room temperature
    • Take 1/2 cup from the mixture and store the rest in the refrigerator for later use. (mixture will keep for several months)


    Method: simmering
    Food allergy & intolerance information: none
    Keyword rice, sushi


  1. Sushi rice is best used when it has just cooled down. In general, do not refrigerate it as the rice will become harder and will not stick as well.
  2. Left over sushi rice that has not been sprinkled by sushi vinegar is perfect for making fried rice, and even if it was treated with the sushi vinegar, it is quite acceptable.

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