MAKES: 4 servings
TIME: 40 minutes
Though sushi rice is often served cool (in Japan it’s considered best warm), it cannot be made ahead by more than a couple of hours or it loses its great texture.
1 recipe White Rice or Brown Rice, made with short-grain rice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
While the rice is cooking, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, less than 5 minutes. Put the saucepan in a bowl filled with ice and stir the vinegar mixture until cool.
When the rice is done, put it in a bowl more than twice the size needed to hold the rice probably the largest bowl you have. Begin to toss the hot rice with a flat wooden paddle or spoon or a rubber spatula as if you were folding egg whites into a batter, but much faster and not quite as gently. While you’re tossing, sprinkle the rice with the vinegar mixture (if the paddle becomes encrusted with rice, dip it in some water, then shake the water off and proceed). The idea is to cool the rice quickly as it absorbs the vinegar.
Sushi rice will not keep for long, but if you cover it with a damp cloth, you can wait a couple of hours to proceed. Or eat it right away: see Sushi Bowls and Sushi Rolls, following.