Sushi rice

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300g/10oz Japanese short-grain rice

330ml/11fl oz water

1 postcard-sized piece of kombu (pickled, dried kelp available in Japanese stores), optional

4 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Put the rice in a sieve and submerge in a large bowl of water. Wash, replace water and repeat until water stays clear. Drain and leave rice in sieve for 30 minutes.

Put rice and water in a heavy-bottomed pan. If using kombu, make cuts to release flavour and add to pan. Cover with lid. Bring to boil over medium heat. Do not lift lid. When you hear it boil, turn heat to high and cook for five minutes. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Remove lid, discard kombu.

Heat vinegar, salt and sugar in a non-aluminium pan, stirring until dissolved. Do not boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Transfer rice to a wide, pre-soaked wooden bowl. Pour a little vinegar mixture over a spatula into the rice. Spread out the rice. Add a little more vinegar mixture, using a slicing action to coat and separate grains. Fan gently. Keep adding vinegar mixture until rice looks glossy and has cooled to room temperature.