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Struggling with the perfect rice boil for sushi-making

I bought the wrong rice for a sushi-making party at home weeks ago.  Our appointed sushi chef, naturally kind and respectful, showed no visible disappointment when I told him that I cooked the sticky rice for the sushis.  He thoughtfully considered as he remarked, sticky rice will make it difficult to manage the rolls.  Nonetheless, he concluded, we’ll use it.  Too late to get the right kind of rice anyway. The guests had arrived.  He was right, the rice stuck to my fingers when I worked on spreading it on the mat and topping it with the fillings.  The stickiness caused the fingers to work awkwardly and with extra care.  More effort expended in the process.  The wonder of it all, the sushis produced tasted superb, regardless. Even with the wrong kind of rice. Of course, our sushi chef brought delectable sushi fillers.  Maybe, that’s why the rolls ended up superb. Though privately I thought, the sticky rice in the rolls tasted marvelous.

What I didn’t share with the sushi chef and guests was that earlier in the day before they arrived, I tried four times to boil the rice to find the perfect consistency.  Used different amounts of water for the boil.  I decided, the best result was with the fourth try.  Did my persistence pay off?  Hmmm …

So, I ended up with three bowl-fulls of sticky rice in my fridge, which I ate the whole week after the party.  For one bowl, I re-cooked it with a can of coconut milk, added some sugar and tablespoons of chocolate powder, stirred it while simmering, and made a pot of most delicious “samporado”, a glutinous soft and thick mixture eaten as breakfast food. Heavenly, especially, when I  ate it with fried dried fish; the slightly sweet and salty merged scrumptiously in the palate.  Thanks to my trial boils and test runs in preparing rice for sushis – I got myself a bonus – my very special “samporado”.

However, inspired by watching the Olympics newscasters seek the best sushis in Tokyo, and still bent on making the perfect sushi – I recently went to the Japanese store to purchase sushi rice.  Again, I tested boiling several times to come up with the desired consistency using varied measures of water.  Got it the third time.  I then made my own sushis, with fillings I bought from the Japanese store – artificial crab meat, canned fish and packaged scrambled eggs.  I thought I made the perfect sushis, happily satisfied with several pieces sliced from two long rolls.  The rest, I kept in the fridge.

Yesterday, I took out the sushis and warmed them in the microwave.  Guess what!  The rice was hard!  So, I warmed them again after sprinkling drops of water on top of the rolls.  My take-from this is that I should have added more water when I boiled the sushi rice.  So, there again, struggling to do the perfect boil for the perfect sushi. So really, I haven’t gotten it!

I’m considering – maybe, I should just use white jasmine rice for the sushis, since with jasmine, I had found the right measure of water for the consistency I want using the finger trick – measuring the level of water in the pot with my finger.  Hmmm … maybe, it’ll be jasmine for the sushis next time — no struggle, and no extra boils.

Linda P. Jacob

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