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Sushi rice brands

I've been making sushi for decades. (I apprenticed to a Japanese chef.)

I know the su is very important; I have a vinegar mix that I've been tinkering with for years and some amazing mirin. I have heard that the fresher the rice the less pronounced the differences.

For years I used Kokuho Rose, Calrose, & Nashiki. Several years back I found out my favorite sushi bar uses Tamanishiki and I use it now; I love it's depth. I am, however, always on the look out for new brands.

Another good sushi bar uses Furusato, which apparently means "Neighborhood". (My teacher wanted us to learn about food, not non-food vocabulary.) I have also heard of SunRice and Koshihikari.

Anyone here heard of these brands? Others? Comments?

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  1. My mom always wants "New Crop" of almost any brand. She says it does make a difference. I have no idea...Have you tried Tamaki?

    1. About the most expensive rice here on Oahu, where people are VERY picky about rice, is Koshihikari Premium.

      1. Nishiki is the brand I use for sushi. It is described on the bag as medium grain rice. It works just fine for me. I believe Calrose is a specific variety of rice rather than a brand.

        1. Based on joebob's recommendation along with one from a chef on another site I'm going to try the Koshi--Hikari!

          (Here's the other site: http://www.eatsushi.com/board/list.as...

          )

          Thank you all!

          1. Lately I've started using "Select Kagayaki," a California premium short grain rice for sushi. Well, I use it for just plain boiled rice too. It is polished with a new process that doesn't use water, and one result is a very low residue in the finished product. The rinse time to get the water to run clear is incredibly fast compared to other sushi grade rices I have used in the past. Hey, call me a conservationist if you will, but the truth is I just get tired of standing at the sink rinsing and rinsing and rinsing rice!

            Oh, yeah... terrific flavor too!

            Here's more info: http://tinyurl.com/2ulccm

            2 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Rinsing is made easier if the bag says NO TALC.

              1. re: Caroline1

                I find this interesting, because I've been finding that the kagayaki takes way *more* time to wash! I feel like I'm washing and washing and washing until finally it's kind of almost OK. The flavor is OK but it seems become soft quite easily. I've been tossing in a small handful of mochi rice together with each batch to help balance out the texture.

                For now, I'm going back to tamaki gold, which seems to be a bit firmer/sturdier. (I also like the tamaki haiga rice, but I don't think I'd use it for sushi)

              2. Sometimes I feel certain that one can become too immersed in details that make only a "placebo" difference - I'm no expert, but from the sushi I've made I've found that worrying about the brand of rice makes far less difference than the coking technique. Of course the su you've perfected to your taste is one of the two keynotes of your sushi, and treating the rice right throughout the preparation is (I believe) the other major factor. Brand of rice? Do the others right and it won't much matter.

                9 Replies
                1. re: wayne keyser

                  "Sometimes I feel certain that one can become too immersed in details... ..." Wayne Keyser

                  There's an old saying: "God is in the details." WHY would you consider pairing prime tuna (for example) with mediocre rice?

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    None of the Japanese style rices available to you in the US is mediocre.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Maybe not "mediocre," but some are better than others. '-)

                      It's also a matter of preference. I know people who use medium grain rice for sushi. Not my preference. The thing I find interesting about the Kagayaki rice, besides the minimum rinsing, is that in cooking you only use one cup of water to one cup of rice instead of the usual 2 water, 1 rice, and the rice is perfect. Seems logical to me that the rice is not as "dried out" as other rices, hence the reduced water requirement. Anyway, the OP asked for suggestions, and this is mine. It is a short grain rice, and I like it very much for sushi.

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Sushi rice is short grained. I've always used 1:1 rice to water for all Japanese (Japonicas with low amylose content) rices.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          Yup. I know that traditional sushi rice is short grained and you know that traditional sushi rice is short graned,but apparently not everyone present here is aware of that. '-)

                          I know you live in a far off isolated land, but if you have a chance to try the Kagayaki rice, I'd be interested in your reaction. I stumbled on it by accident in a local Asian market where irt was only $5.99 for 2 kilos as opposed to $7.83 plus S&H from the website I posted. The producer says it also makes very good risotto, so I plan on giving that a try when I'm in a stirring mood.

                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            But don't try the 1 to 1 ratio in a microwave! I did some Kagayaki rice in a boil-in bag in the microwave tonight and it turned to ashes in six minutes! The house still stinks. But I used the boil-in bag for long grain rice qa couple of weeks ago and it turned out great! Maybe you have to use a 2 water 1 rice ratio in the microwave no matter what kind of rice you use? Cremated rice smells baaaaaad!

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        It's rice. It's white, it's soft, it's got a little texture, it's ... well, that's all. Or, at least, that's all I can tell.

                        The su adds flavor and the fish has flavor, but once those are all assembled your palate is subtle enough to detect the difference between brands of rice?

                        Maybe I've burnt out my palate with spicy foods over the years.

                        1. re: wayne keyser

                          Maybe I'm fooling myself, but I think I can taste the difference between traditionally prepared sushi rice and some of the stuff that is passed off in sushi toady. Over the last couple of years I've had some sushi that tastes like the closest it has been to a sushi chef was having his shadow cast on it as he walked by. And in my area, both WalMart and Central Market sell plastic wrapped little black foam trays of "sushi." I call it Nori Bubblegum. Dreadful stuff!

                      3. re: wayne keyser

                        I´ve used Koshi hikari, and its one of the best brands I ever used. But when not having it available I simply use "Daichi" Calrose type of grain (yellow bag) Best combo I´ve used, Is Koshi Hikari 1800ml and 200ml kagayaki. the blend is perfect. The su is one factor, and the process is another, but yet the rice consistancy and taste depends on the rice brands as well. I´ve tasted a lot of brands and some of them are plain tasteless and tend to break easily. Find a good balance and you will understand the difference.

                      4. Forgive me if this is a dumb question, but is Koshihikari a specific brand or is it a type of rice?

                        I've just recently started using my rice cooker (after it sat in the box for 2 years) and I have been trying different rices. The one we like best so far is Rice Select "Sushi" American Koshihikari Rice, which is basically what I saw in the supermarket.

                        After doing a little research tonight, I'm a bit confused because, like I said, I'm not sure what Koshihikari refers to and while I would like to try Tamanishiki, I just want to be clear on what's what.

                        Thanks.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: valerie

                          Brands of the same variety. Little to no real difference.

                          1. re: valerie

                            Koshihikari is a hybrid strain of rice created in a lab in 1952.

                            Also, it's worth noting, from a culinary standpoint, that, besides being traditional, short grain rice is the most practical sushi rice (especially for maki) because short grain rices are more glutinous and therefore stickier, and easier to shape or roll. ...I also think they just look nicer on maki rolls.