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How to Make Sushi Rice, From a Longtime Sushi Master

Taka Sakaeda, executive chef and co-owner of New York’s Nami Nori, shares his go-to method

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Nami Nori made a splash on the NYC restaurant scene this past year, drawing long lines and fulsome food critics with its cheeky, taco-like hand rolls wrapped in crisp nori shells. With creative ingredients, such as a red miso-flavored eggplant roll and a salmon-and-tomato roll, Nami Nori takes sushi to a different, playful place.

But one traditional foundation never changes: the rice. Taka Sakaeda, executive chef and co-owner of Nami Nori, is a longtime sushi master and a Masa alum, knows a thing or two about nailing the perfect sushi rice. Sakaeda discussed his process on Instagram Live as part of the Eater @ Home virtual event series and shared his recipe, which you can check out below.


Sushi Rice

Ingredients:

For the rice:
Japanese short grain rice, such as koshihikari

For sushi vinegar:
2 cups of rice vinegar
34 cup of sugar
14 cup of salt
3” x 3” piece of konbu (optional)

Tools:
Rice cooker
Large bowl or Japanese hangiri
Rubber spatula or Japanese shamoji

Step 1: Prepare your sushi vinegar by combining all ingredients and mixing well to dissolve. If using the optional konbu, leave in vinegar at least 1 hour — it will get better with time.

Step 2: Measure your rice; approximately 12 to 1 cup of dry rice is enough for one serving. Wash rice in cold water and rinse several times, until most of the starch is removed. (Milky color = starch.) Strain and let sit to drain excess water. Follow your rice cooker’s instructions to cook rice. (If there is an option for “sushi rice,” follow those directions.)

Step 3: While rice is cooking, measure out sushi vinegar. 20 percent of the volume of dry rice — or 1:5 — is a good ratio; so if you cooked 2 cups of dry rice, measure out 0.4 cups of sushi vinegar. When the rice is done cooking, transfer all the rice into a large bowl or hangiri. Pour the sushi vinegar evenly over the rice. Using the spatula or shamoji, fold and “cut” the rice, trying to make sure each grain of rice has been seasoned with the sushi vinegar.

Step 4: Let it cool to room temperature. Put rice back into the rice cooker and leave it on the warm setting.

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