WHAT IS SUSHI RICE?
Sushi rice is a Japanese dish of specially prepared vinegar rice. It is usually with some sugar and salt, combined with a variety of ingredients such as seafood, vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits . Styles of sushi and its presentation vary widely, but the key ingredient is “sushi rice”. Sushi can be alternatively called すし, 寿司, 鮨
Traditionally, sushi is made with medium-sized white rice, it can alternatively be prepared with brown rice. It is often prepared alongside with seafood, such as calamari, imitation crab meat or eel. Sushi is often served with preserved ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce.
WHERE DOES SUSHI RICE ORIGINATE FROM?
The origin of sushi can be traced to Southeast Asian dish, known today as narezushi (馴れ寿司, 熟寿司 – “salted fish”). It is usually stored in fermented rice for some months.
The lacto-fermentation of the rice prevented the fish from spoiling; the rice would be discarded before consumption of the fish. This early type of sushi became an important source of protein in Japan.
The term sushi comes from an old grammatical form no longer used in other contexts, and literally means “sour-tasting”; the overall dish has a sour and savory taste.
Addition of vinegar started in the preparation of narezushi in (1336–1573) for the sake of enhancing both taste and preservation. In addition to increasing the sourness of the rice, the vinegar significantly increased the dish’s longevity, causing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. The primitive sushi would be further developed in Osaka, where over several centuries it became oshi-zushi or “hako-zushi”; in this preparation, the seafood and rice were pressed into shape with wooden (typically bamboo) molds.
Fresh fish was served over vinegar rice and nori in the Edo period (1603-1868). The particular style of nigirizushi today became popular in Edo (contemporary Tokyo) in the 1820s or 1830s. One common story of nigirizushi’ s origins is of the chef Hanaya Yohei (1799-1858), who invented or perfected the technique in 1824 at his shop in Ryōgoku. The dish was originally termed Edomae zushi as it used freshly caught fish from the Edo-mae (Edo or Tokyo Bay); the term Edomae nigirizushi is still used today as a by-word for quality sushi, regardless of its ingredients’ origins.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF SUSHI RICE?
The common ingredient in all types of sushi is vinegared sushi rice.
• Edomae chirashizushi (Edo-style scattered sushi) is served with uncooked ingredients in an artful arrangement.
• Gomokuzushi (Kansai-style sushi) consists of cooked or uncooked ingredients mixed in the body of rice.
• Sake-zushi (Kyushu-style sushi) uses rice wine over vinegar in preparing the rice, and is topped with shrimp, sea bream, octopus, shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots and shredded omelette.
• Inarizushi (稲荷寿司) is a pouch of fried tofu typically filled with sushi rice alone.
• Tales tell that inarizushi is named after the Shinto god Inari. Foxes, messengers of Inari, are believed to have a fondness for fried tofu , and an Inari-zushi roll has pointed corners that resemble fox ears. 
• Regional variations include pouches made of a thin omelette (帛紗寿司, fukusa-zushi, or 茶巾寿司, chakin-zushi) instead of tofu. It should not be confused with inari maki, which is a roll filled with flavored fried tofu.
• Cone sushi is a variant of inarizushi originating in Hawaii that may include green beans, carrots , or gobo along with rice, wrapped in a triangular aburaage piece. It is often sold in okazu-ya (Japanese delis) and as a component of bento boxes.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF SUSHI RICE
The type of rice used for sushi is usually a form of short-grain rice in which the two type of rice – brown and white contain amylopectin and amylose. Sushi rice usually has a higher amylopectin content. This makes the rice stickier and allows it to be used to hold the sushi form together. White sushi rice has had the bran removed, whereas brown or wholegrain sushi rice retains a natural bran content and light brown color.
The USDA nutrient database indicates that cooked, short-grain white rice — as typically used in sushi preparation — is over 68 percent water. One hundred grams of the cooked rice contains 130 calories, 2.4 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat and 28.7 grams of carbohydrate. The same weight of cooked brown rice contains 72 grams of water, 112 calories, 2.3 grams of protein, 0.8 grams of fat, 23.5 grams of carbohydrate and 1.8 grams of dietary fiber.
Sushi rice is virtually fat-free, and a typical sushi meal is low in both overall fat content and calorific value. Sushi rice prepared without frying or the addition of mayonnaise is naturally a low-calorie option. Brown rice has the added benefit of providing a little dietary fiber, which is beneficial to your digestive health. The way sushi rice is usually served — wrapped around individual sushi pieces — aids portion control and can help you avoid overeating.
Both white and brown sushi rice contribute a relatively high amount of carbohydrates to your daily nutritional intake, without also contributing any significant amount of protein tor your diet. This may mean that you use up your daily calorie and carbohydrate limits without consuming sufficient protein. White sushi rice, in particular, is a high-starch refined carbohydrate -this type of carbohydrate is typically considered to be less healthy for you overall than unrefined whole.
Sushi rice has almost no fat in it at all, and even though it does contain carbs, it’s really not that bad for you overall. It’s not fried, which helps keep its calorie count down. If you go with wholegrain rice, you can even get a little bit of dietary fiber in each serving.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SUSHI RICE
• Hypothyroidism Prevention: Sushi is a good source of iodine, and there is scientific evidence which states that iodine helps balance the thyroid hormones. Iodine present in sushi can be very beneficial to patients suffering from hypothyroidism as it will prevent the abnormal activity of the thyroid hormones and keep them in check. Hypothyroidism is a serious illness which has fatal implications in the long run. This leads to uncontrollable obesity which leads to severe heart diseases. Adding sushi to the diet will help in many other ways including replenishing iodine deficiency.
• Weight Management: However, it also entails a lot of weight gain and bad eating habits with it. Sushi is the savior in this regard; it is healthy and mostly oil free which leaves a plate full of healthy protein and carbohydrates.
• Rich Source Of Antioxidants: Sushi is a delicious way of getting a healthy dose of antioxidants which helps prevent any oxidative damage to the skin and the DNA of cells. Antioxidants act as a shield against the free radicals that cause oxidative stress and cause cancer.
• Prevent cancer: Sushi is often served with a side of soy sauce and wasabi. Especially the antioxidant properties of wasabi are linked to prohibiting stomach infections and leukemia. It is also very proficient in inhibiting the growth of tumors and promotes cell death in cancerous cells.
•Rich In Omega 3 And Fatty Acids: Sushi is an excellent source of omega 3 and fatty acids which promote cell regeneration and prevent the onset of autoimmune diseases such as Lupus. The fatty acids that the combination of fish provides promotes the growth of healthy immunity and kills of cells that can lead to diseases such as lupus which can have severe consequences and may even cause organs to shut down. This may be a hereditary disease as well but in any case, adding sushi to the diet can prevent the effects to a large degree.
• Protein: Sushi makes up for an excellent dinner and lunch. It can help provide healthy protein which is necessary for the brains cells to remain active and for cell and muscle regeneration. Eating sushi once or twice a week can be very useful for people who work out and are shredding.
• Source of Iron: Iron is what keeps the red blood cells and hemoglobin levels in the body in check. Deficiency of iron can be fatal and cause the heart to stop. Fish used to create sushi are rich in iron. Awabi contains 3.23 mg, kaki contains 4.91mg, and Ika contains 9.21 mg of iron, and these are just a few examples.
•Nutrient Dense: Sushi is incomplete without seaweed, yes some varieties can be made without it; but if you are a true sushi lover, then seaweed is an essential to you. It is an acquired taste, but this is rich in nutrients far more than any land vegetable to say the least. It also makes an excellent healthy snack while providing a host of vitamins and minerals.
• Prevention of Atherosclerosis: Fish is the healthiest meat there is, what better for heart protection. Adding sushi to the diet helps regulate the cholesterol and glucose levels of the blood. This prevents the arteries from accumulating bad cholesterol and promotes healthy flow of blood to and from the heart
WHAT ARE THE PERFECT RECIPE FOR SUSHI RICE?
2 cups short-grain Japanese rice
1/4 cup sake-mash vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
WHAT ARE THE TOOLS FOR MAKING PERFECT SUSHI RICE?
A medium sized pot ( with lid )
Sieve or colander
Fan or source of air
HOW TO MAKE PERFECT SUSHI RICE
Purchase high quality rice with very few broken grains. Sushi rice is usually made with special Japanese white rice, commonly called sushi rice. It is a high quality short grain that is sticky and slightly sweet rice. Real sushi rice has a good balance of starches (amylose and amylopectin) so that the rice sticks together when using chopsticks to bring it from the plate to your mouth. Most of the time it will be labeled “Sushi Rice”.
Measure out the rice depending on the level of hunger or as desired. If there are appetizers, desserts, 600 grams (1.32 pounds) should be adequate for four adults. If the meal include an appetizer and perhaps something for dessert, 600 grams is also often a very good portion for a regular-sized stove pot.
Rinse the rice by pouring a lot of cold water on it, hands can then be used to move the rice about in the water bath so that it gives off as much as possible of those little dirt and starch particles that make the water all greyish. It does not have to take a long period of time but with good tumbling then pour the water out again, as much as possible.
Alternatively, put the rice in a strainer and the strainer in the pot; fill the pot with water, move the rice, then lift the strainer out of the pot so as to pour out the milky water. Do this some four or five times, until the water seems relatively clear. After the last rinse, pour fresh water over the rice one last time and leave it to soak for about half an hour.
Put 200 miligrams of water and pour the rice into a pot. Place on a rice cooker and put on the lid (do not to remove it again until the rice is done), and you turn up the heat to high.
If a rice cooker to be used, skip the next two steps, and go straight to cooling the rice (once the rice has finished cooking, of course). There is also the possibility of making sushi rice in the oven, as described in the section below.
Watch over the pot until it starts to boil. It is preferrable to use a pot with a glass lid here, so that the bubbles can be seen, because removing the lid would let out the steam and interfere with the cooking process. Once it starts boiling, start the time. Some of the rice will stick to the bottom, but there is no cause for alarm, because that rice will not be needed for the sushi. It is inevitable that some of the rice will stick to the bottom, but some seeds will have to die for the rest of them to be perfect.
After seven minutes, turn the heat down from max power to just enough power to let the rice simmer for an additional fifteen minutes. Remember: Never take off the lid or you will ruin the rice. After these last fifteen minutes, the rice is cooked. But, it’s definitely not done.
Allow the rice cool down to avoid getting too sticky while seasoning it. The trouble about cooling it down is to avoid the rice to dry out by leaving it on the kitchen table reacting with the air, and also to cool down rather quickly. To use a couple of clean kitchen towels dampened with cold water (not wet!) can also be used alternatively. Spread one on the table, spread the rice on top of it (remember not to scrape the bottom, to prevent that half-burnt rice down there in the sushi), and place the other towel on top of the rice, so the air does not dry it up. This way, the rice should cool down in about an hour.
The word sushi is actually a compound of the word “su” which means “vinegar” and the word “shi” which means “skill of hand”.
So, sushi fundamentally means something like mastering the art of vinegar. A good rice vinegar, some salt . But, a good rule of thumb says that for each 100 millilitres of vinegar, add three tablespoons of sugar and one-and-a-half teaspoon of salt.
Add them all in a pot and heat it up while stirring, until everything becomes dissolved. Now, adjust the mixture by tasting it. If it is too vinegary, add sugar. If it does not enough taste, add more. Then cool to room temperature.
Mix the su and rice. Traditionally, this is done with a hangiri.
Hangiri is a round, flat-bottom wooden tub or barrel, and a wooden paddle.
Alternatively, A baking pan or cookie sheet (but not aluminum foil – it’ll react with the vinegar) can be used. Stir the rice gently with the su, using a gentle chopping and flipping motion with a paddle or spatula, and let the heat escape (if the rice is cooled already). Otherwise, the rice will continue cooking in its own heat. Spread the rice so that it cools down faster, but be sure not to mash it.
Adjust to taste. Add a little su, then stir around (gently) with a wooden spatula or spoon, taste. If not enough, Repeat the process. It is possible to end up using somewhere between 100 and 250 millilitres of su for the portion.
Use the sushi rice at room temperature. If the rice is still warm, cover it with a damp cloth (so it doesn’t dry out) and leave it until it reaches room temperature. Sushi tastes best when made from freshly cooked and unrefrigerated rice.
If there is a need to refrigerate, then reheat by gently steaming or microwaving with a piece of lettuce leaf or cling wrap lightly covering the rice (so that it does not dry out) until the texture returns to that of soft, freshly cooked rice. If Sushi rice or Dongbei rice (which does not harden like other types) is used, slight heating is enough. If refrigeration was light, return to room temperature.
• Do not use a pot or rice cooker with Teflon or some other type of non-stick coating inside. When the rice to get stuck to the bottom, because the alternative is a kind of crust at the bottom of the pot where the rice gets crispy, which tastes great in itself, but is really bad mixed in with the rest of the rice in a sushi maki roll or a piece of nigiri.
• Remember not to try to get too much taste or saltiness out of the rice by adding su. The reason salt is not use in the rice in the first place is to prevent the su from being salty. When sushi is dipped in soy sauce which is very salty indeed.
• Plan on eating a lot of rice over a period of time? Then consider purchasing a quality rice cooker with features such as fuzzy logic, a timer and a variety of cooking settings to accommodate different kinds of rice.
• There are multiple types of rice vinegar available at an average store – seasoned rice vinegar and plain rice vinegar. The rice vinegar called for above is plain rice vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar already has some sugar and salt added to it. If you do choose to buy this type, adjust your additions of sugar and salt accordingly.
• The moisture of the rice after cooking is important. As different kinds of rice cook and absorb water differently, it will be a trial and error process to cook it “just right”: cooked but not gooey. The goal is to have the individual grains be sticky enough to hold shape, but not break down into paste.
• An alternative method of making perfect rice is to buy a Japanese Rice Cooker, made by companies like Mitsubishi or Zojirushi. Mixing a slightly more than equal part of water to the rice, it will usually come out perfectly.
• When waiting for the vinegar mixture to cool, try placing it in a bowl that is immersed in an ice water mixture. This should help speed the process.
• Get someone to fan the rice while you’re mixing it, so that it can pull off the excess moisture and heat faster and with more consistency. A small table-top fan or blow dryer on a cool (no heat) low setting will do.