Even though I consider myself a fan of Japanese food (I am fascinated by its culinary perfectionism), I’ve long been unaware of how to cook simple Japanese dishes, from noodles to sushi. Going to a restaurant has always been the only way to taste Japanese food for me. What made me emerge from this unbearable state of ignorance and try out Japanese recipes at home?
I started craving for some vegetarian sushi. Now, even if you live in the most amazing European capital (aka London), for this kind of craving there’s no solution (at least not many options). Here is why I purchased those cute – and scary at the same time – sheets of seaweed-red-algae technically known as Porphyra-P. yezoensis-P. tenera (argh), and so on so forth…
One day I was in the most popular British bookstore called Waterstones. It was around lunch time and I was there to spend my lunch break looking for inspiration on how to write acknowledgments (at some point in my life I’ll need to say thanks in black and white). I bumped into this elegant cookbook by Harumi Kurihara. She wrote her acknowledgments section in such an exquisite and simple way that I felt like dedicating all my lunch break to the book, not only paying attention to the food photography (which is sadly the first and sometimes only thing I do when I open a cookbook) but also lingering on her writing. How to make sushi rice on the stove is the first thing that caught my attention. At the end of my lunch break I knew that making Japanese rice without a rice cooker was possible and easy (as to writing effective acknowledgments I am still in deep water).
That is how I got the inspiration for my very first sushi rice made from short grain rice and by using my “everyday” pan. It’s a never failing recipe, as proved by the fact that I managed to get it right at the first attempt (a rare event for me). I turned sticky rice, which I prepared following to the letter the recipe below, into perfect sushi rice just by mixing it with sushi vinegar or Mirin, a Japanese rice vinegar mixed with salt and sugar. The secret for the authentic Japanese rice is unveiled below. As you can see, with this rice I made the vegetarian sushi I could not eat otherwise in the restaurants (I’m not writing here about the sushi recipe since I believe you would need a video to make sense of the directions).
- 300 g 2 small cups of Japanese Rice or short grain Rice
- 350 ml of Water
- Medium size sauce pan with a lid
- 80 ml of Sushi Vinegar Mirin
- Rinse the rice by adding water to a bowl then gently stirring the rice with your hand. Pour the water away keeping the rice in the bowl with your hand. Repeat at least 3 times (you want the water to be clear, eventually).
- Add the rice and 350ml of water to your pan and put on the stove until the water boils. When it starts boiling, turn down the heat to minimum and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes, make sure to keep the lid on the pan at all times.
- Once it has simmered, remove the sauce pan from the stove. Mix the rice and vinegar together and leave it to steam for a further 10 minutes.