In December of 2020, I became obsessed with sushi rice. Our daughter, Jessi, gave us a sushi-making lesson as part of her Christmas gift, and Mark and I got hooked! I started studying to discover the best type of sushi rice and came across Hinode Koshihikari. It is a premium short-grain variety named for the historic Koshi Province in Japan. Preparation instructions specified rinsing and soaking, but was all that necessary?
Of course, I can never seem to take what I read at face value, which led to a visit to our local international grocer and picking up two types of rice. One was the premium Koshihikari, and the other was a “premium” grade, but at about half the price. Then I ran it eight different ways. (Yes, I am an experiment junky.) In this case, I ran quality comparisons against combinations of the following.
- Koshihikari vs. Premium
- Soaking vs. Not Soaking
- Rinsing vs. Not Rinsing
After carefully comparing the outcomes, guess what? I do believe you can save your money, time, and trouble. The half-price rice was not discernably different from the Koshihikari. Soaking shortened the cooking time but did not improve the final texture. And the same was true for the rinsing.
In the end, I decided that I can treat it just like I do other rice. I toss it into a big pot with plenty of boiling water, hold it at a simmer until it is tender with a bit of resistance (al dente), and then drain off the excess water as you do for pasta.
After that, season it with sweetened, salted rice wine vinegar for making delicious sushi.