How to make sushi rice for Nigiri sushi by a sushi master

The real way of making sushi rice for Nigiri sushi by a sushi master. There are 4 tips!

In order to bring sushi to life, it is extremely important how sushi rice (shari or vinegared rice) is made. Let me introduce a cooking method, a top grade sushi master uses.

First, wash the rice gently. Leave it to soak for about half an hour and let it fully absorb water. The most important point here is to keep the water level which includes the rice consistent (The first tip).

The rice should be cooked with water with a ratio of 10 to 9. A little less water than the regular rice, so that it is cooked slightly hard. This is the second tip.

While you wait for the rice to cook, make awasezu* by adding salt and sugar in vinegar. Also, set up hangiri (rice-cooling tub) for mixing the rice. Don’t forget to wipe the inside with a wet kitchen towel to prevent the rice from sticking to it.

Once the rice has finished cooking, leave it to steam for about 15 minutes and dump it out into hangiri. Pour awasezu immediately and let it sit for 30 seconds or so. Because the rice absorbs vinegar only while it is hot, managing this process quickly is the third tip.

After letting it sit for 30 seconds, spread the rice out with shamoji (rice spatula) as if cutting it down. Make sure that vinegar goes around using a cutting motion vertically. Additionally, fan the rice using a uchiwa (fan) to remove the moisture of vinegar and mix the rice with a cutting motion horizontally this time. Fanning with uchiwa is not to cool down the rice (Do not put the rice in the fridge to cool it down.), but to dry up the excess moisture of vinegar. Moving both hands as you consider it is the fourth tip.

After the rice is vinegared evenly, assemble it in one place and cover it with a damp kitchen towel. In about an hour, it is ready when sushi rice is settled. (Body temperature) Even in a hurry, if you don’t give at least 30 minutes, it won’t help the taste of course, and also won’t make it easy to form the rice for sushi. If you rush at the end, all the delicate attention up to this will be in vain.

*A professional recipe for awasezu is as follows. This is a recipe for short grain rice species such as Koshihikari and Sasanishiki. Slightly sticky rice like calrose is not suitable for sushi rice.



Water:330 – 340cc

Komezu (Rice vineger):50 – 60cc

Salt:1 tsp – 2 tsp

Sugar:1 tbsp plus 1 tsp – 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp

*If you use Akazu (Red vinegar made from fermented sake lees), add almost no sugar.

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We hope this information will be helpful.

Revision date: September 15, 2022

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11 thoughts on “How to make sushi rice for Nigiri sushi by a sushi master”

    1. We really appreciate your kind reply. Sushi University provides both attractive and authentic information on Edo-style Sushi for all Sushi Lovers in the whole world.

  1. Excellent and thanks for sharing these tips.
    Some questions to make sure I get it right…
    9 cups of rice, you mean Japanese cups (180ml), correct?
    I am surprised by the ratio rice / vinegar, I have seen many times (and use) a kind of 2 cups (Japanese) uncooked rice for slightly less than 4 tbsp of vinegar, 2 tbsp of sugar, 1 tsp of salt.

    1. Wash the rice (you don’t need excessive body movement, ex: flinging the rice), then let it soak in water for 30 min. When soaking the rice in water keep the water at the same level the entire time.

  2. Can you be more explicit in regards to the rice cooking instructions prior to the steaming part? Hard boil? Simmer? How long? What determines that it is “done”? Thank you very much for your response.

    1. It depends on what kind of rice cooker and rice you use. The rice is a special kind that cannot be cooked in a home rice cooker.

      The pressure inside the kettle is higher when cooking. The sushi chefs often use something called a hagama. It uses gas to create the heat.

      One sushi chef says it took him a long time to master the use of the hagama.

      In other words, it is a trade secret.

    2. Some sushi chefs use only a portion of the cooked rice. The part near the metal part of the hagama is not used because it is burnt. The amount of rice that cannot be used because it is burnt is also calculated and cook the rice.

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