International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Sushi Gohan

Making makizushi

(Japanese seasoned rice)

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Average: 3 (4 votes)

Contrary to the belief of many, the word "sushi" actually refers to the seasoned rice itself, not the rolls and such made with it. It serves as the base for chirashi, inari, maki, nigiri, oshi and temaki zushi.

Making sushi rice is super easy if you have a rice cooker. If you don't, this recipe will help you get awesome results on the stovetop.

Makes about 3 cups


  • Sushi rice -- 2 cups
  • Water -- 1 3/4 cups
  • Unseasoned rice vinegar, unseasoned -- 3 tablespoons
  • Sugar -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 1/2 teaspoons


  1. Place rice in a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water and swish the rice with your hands. Pour off water and repeat the process 3 or 4 times. Fill the bowl with water one last time set the rice aside to soak for 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Drain the rice and stir it into the boiling water. Reduce heat to low, cover tightly and simmer 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to rest for another 15 minutes.
  3. Mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Remove the cooked rice to a large bowl. Pour the vinegar mix over the rice and gently fold it in with a wooden spoon or paddle.
  4. Cool rice to lukewarm and cover with a damp towel. Use for making maki zushi or other sushi dishes.

Sushi Rice Notes and Variations

  • Sushi Dishes:
    • Chirashi zushi: Mixed sushi bowl with various toppings.
    • Inari zushi: Sushi rice stuffed into a fried tofu pocket.
    • Maki (or Futomaki) zushi: Sushi rice and garnishes rolled in a sheet of nori seaweed.
    • Nigiri zushi: Hand-formed sushi rice with various toppings.
    • Oshi zushi: Sushi rice and garnishes formed in a mold.
    • Temaki zushi (see maki zushi recipe notes): Sushi rice and garnishes wrapped in a nori cone.
  • If using seasoned rice vinegar, omit the sugar and salt, and increase the amount of vinegar to 1/4 cup.
  • It helps to cut and fold in the vinegar with one hand and to fan the rice with a fan or piece of cardboard with the other. This works to to evaporate excess moisture from the rice. Using a wooden bowl helps as well.
  • When making sushi, wet your hands with a mixture of 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup water. This keeps the rice from sticking to your hands.

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