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Seasoning for Sushi Rice, what do you suggest

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I've misplaced my recipes for the seasonings used to make sushi rice. I moved some months ago & haven't found my notes on this. I had a recipe from a friends mom (they're Japanese) and one from a Japanese cooking class and I used to mix and match!
The ingredients I used to use were: rice vinegar, Mirin & sugar. In what proportions do you suggest, please? It's been about 2 years now that I havent' made it, so my memory is a bit sketchy on it.

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  1. Here is a recipe published in the SF Chronicle back in the 70's. From a Japanese cook from Berkeley:

    to season 5 cups raw rice:

    3/4 c white vinegar
    1/2 c sugar
    1 T salt
    2 slices fresh ginger

    Bring to a boil, remove from heat, discard ginger. Stir hot rice to cool with a large paddle-shaped spoon, stirring in vinegar sauce evenly. Fan rice to cool as it is stirred.

    Note that mirin or rice vinegar was not as widely available in the 70's. (Before the sushi boom)
    And that there is no definitve recipe; every cook has a favorite balance of flavors. You can cut down the recipe as needed: 10 parts vinegar, 8 parts sugar, 1 part salt and ginger.

    2 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      Thank you toodie jane, appreciate this, at this point everything makes for a good start, I totally agree that every cook has a favorite balance.

      1. re: morebubbles

        You're welcome. The interseting thing about this recipe is it was the starting point of my love affair with fresh ginger. Now I'm never without it.

    2. toodie jane's Japanese cook's recipe is pretty much the way I've always made it.

      1. toodie jane's proportions are about what I use, but it would be for about THREE cups of raw rice, not five. My standard recipe starts with two cups of vinegar, and seasons about seven cups of rice.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ricepad

          I may be confused a bit. 5 cups of raw rice (whatever amount of cooked rice that would make) is the one first suggested. Hope I got that one right.
          ricepad, do you mean 2 cups vinegar to 7 cups of cooked rice?

          1. re: morebubbles

            I use two cups of vinegar (plus a cup of sugar and about a quarter cup of salt) for seven cups of raw rice (cooked, of course).

            (You didn't ask for it, but here's some of my earlier advice, cut and pasted from an earlier thread)
            I'm a former sushi chef, and here's what I do when I make sushi at home.

            1. Wash rice two or three times.
            2. Start the rice in the rice cooker.
            3. Mix the su (vinegar dressing) in whatever proportions you like.
            4. Allow the rice to rest in the rice cooker for 15 minutes after it shuts off (don't lift the lid...let it continue to steam).
            5. Carefully scoop the rice out into a big baking pan (I don't have a wooden tub), taking care not to scrape the sides of the rice pot. Leave whatever sticks to the pot in the pot...you don't want torn-up, mashed, or damaged rice in your sushi. You can scrape the koge later, for snacking.
            6. IMMEDIATELY pour the su over the rice, and start folding it in. Don't stir or mix, because that leads to crushed rice grains. Fold, fold, fold. (My usual instructions also include advice to add WAY more su than you think is necessary. The rice will absorb a surprising amount of liquid as it cools, but once it's cooled, you can't add more liquid. When the rice/vinegar mixture is hot, it's going to look like you added too much, but as it cools - and the sheen builds - it'll start to look and feel right. I admit, tho...the first few times, it's a 'leap of faith' thing.)
            7. Fold some more. Fold until you're sure that the su is evenly distributed in the rice. Then let it cool. I don't fan anymore, because I don't have a flunky to fan it and I'm usually too busy getting other ingredients together to fan it. I don't notice a marked drop in quality from not having fanned the rice. (Then again, it could be that, because at one time *I* was the flunky who had to fan the rice, I developed a distaste for it!)
            8. As the mixture cools, fold some more.

            To keep it from drying out too much, cover it with a damp kitchen towel.

        2. I like to use brown rice vinegar, sugar, mirin, and some dashi stock...proportions? i usually mix the seasoning separately and add little by little of everything until it tastes right...but generally, 2 parts vinegar, 1 part sugar, 1/2 part mirin, 1/2 part dashi.

          I also like to season my rice w/ katsuo mirin furikake when i'm feeling lazy...:o)

          1. Wow. I didn't realize how low-sugared my family's version is. As someone mentioned, each family has a different recipe, but here's my mom's:
            For 3 go (the little rice cups that come w/ the rice cooker. 1 "cup" here refers to 180 cc of uncooked rice),
            we cook the rice with a piece of kombu and 1.5 TBSP of sake
            then once it's finished cooking/steaming,
            Vinegar 4.5 Tbsp
            Sugar 1 Tbsp
            Salt 2 tsp

            1. Thanks all of you guys, I'm confident that I can make my own mix now with all of the hints about proportions put together, love that, thank you!
              Thanks for the clarification and extra hints, ricepad, appreciate your passing on your experience. Good point about the broken rice, had't thought of that.
              I don't have a wooden tub either, but a large baking pan has worked for me in the past as well.

              1. I like a very subtle seasoning level; most recipes are too strong, IMHO.

                While I have been making it for decades, these days I start with a ratio taken from the book "Sushi Making at Home: by Yasuko Kamimura.

                But first - using kombu and some sake when cooking the rice will give a depth not imparted by the su. (But then you probably knew that...)

                Ratio:

                For four dry cups rice:

                9 Tbl. Vinegar
                4 Tbl. sugar and mirin total; usually 3:1 but it may vary depending on the fish I'll be using with. (I use Mitoku's Organic Mikawa Mirin - simply amazing...)
                1 Tbl. salt (I use kosher)

                For vinegars I use regular rice, red wine, brown rice, and sweet brown rice, and at about a 5:2:1:1 ratio -- all this may vary, again, depending on the other ingredients. I've been playing with a barley vinegar and may add that to the mix. No "secret" vinegar mixes here!

                So, I'll have 10 Tbl. vinegar - I'll have to add a skoshe more sugar or mirin and salt. I don't use it all nine Tbl. anyway; I taste the rice as I go, remembering that the strength of the seasoning, except the salt, will be less intense as the temperature cools, and usually have a couple left.

                Let us know how it goes!