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Should You Soak Sushi Rice Before Cooking

If you are new to sushi, you are probably asking yourself if you should soak the sushi rice before cooking, and how to do it. Even if you have made sushi before, you can still benefit from little experimentation and fine-tuning of your rice recipes.
When I used to own a sushi restaurant, I have done both, soak the rice and not soak it. The fact is that I was able to produce better and more reliable results when I stopped soaking the sushi rice before cooking. I have to note that I always used a rice cooker at work, but even when I make smaller batch at home on the stove, I still don't soak the rice before cooking.

Sushi rice

How does it work:
After you wash your rice as usual, place it in the rice cooker and add the water. Use 1/2 cup of water more than what you would use if you were soaking it. Cook the rice and then remove the pot from the rice cooker, but do not lift the lid for at least 15 minutes more. After 15 minutes, use a fan to remove all the steam from the sushi rice and add your seasoning according to your recipe. Let the rice stand for about 20 minutes more at room temperature, and after that it is ready for using in sushi. I used to normally cook 8 cups of rice for each batch and added 8 1/2 cups of water to it. When I soaked it, I only needed to add 8 cups of water or even 7 3/4. The amount of water changes slightly during the different seasons though, so I can't give you the exact amount that will work for you, but you can do your own testing and determine it. If you do soak the sushi rice before cooking, do not use the same water that you used for soaking. Strain the rice before cooking and add fresh water. I always use filtered water for both, soaking (if I even do it) and cooking, as opposed to tap water, because I find it more tasty and healthy when the rice is cooked with purified water. Cheers.

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Chef George Krumov
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last two decades he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.

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