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Homemade Sushi Question

I wanted to try making sushi at home for the first time and was wondering is powdered dashi normal in sushi rice? I found a few recipes that call for it, but most seem not to. Are there any opinions on what makes the tastiest rice? Also how de rigeur is the fan? Can I get away with just mixing the rice when its hot?

Thanks!

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  1. Vinegar (I usually use plain old white vinegar because I'm cheap), sugar, and salt. Hot rice. A big ol' tub or roasting pan. A rice paddle or spatula. That's all you need. You can fan if you want, but it's not necessary.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ricepad

      "Vinegar (I usually use plain old white vinegar because I'm cheap), sugar, and salt. Hot rice. A big ol' tub or roasting pan. A rice paddle or spatula"

      I don't know why you would need a roasting pan or a sp0atula.

      I've made sushi a few times (mostly rolls) some few years ago and I made the rice in a large pot. I neveer heard of dashi and I don't know what you mean by "the fan". I made from a recipe so I have to guess things I haven't heard of are unnecessary.

      Heck, at the time, made it so often ended up buying little fake grass and palms to decorate plates.

      1. re: FrankJBN

        An uchiwa - its traditionally used to cool down the rice while you mix in the vinegar. I was curious if anyone had done it both ways and could offer a comparison.

        Dashi powder is sort of like bouillon, but its made from kelp (kombu) and bonito flakes and is used to make dashi instead of chicken stock.

        1. re: mujeresliebres

          In sushi bars, it's traditionally one of the newer flunkies who has to stand there and fan the rice to cool it off. At home, I don't have a flunky, and I don't really notice much of a difference. Of course, my former boss used to add about a cup of sake to the cooking water for 40 cups of rice, and I didn't think that made much of a difference, either.

          1. re: ricepad

            See that's what I wanted to know. I do have a flunky and a paper plate so maybe we'll try it :). Thanks!

            1. re: mujeresliebres

              In my experience it doesn't make much difference, unless of course you're in a hurry for the rice to cool or need a job to keep your flunky out of trouble.

        2. re: FrankJBN

          I used to make sushi professionally. The tub (sushi oke) or pan is useful for spreading the rice out so it'll cool faster, the rice paddle or spatula for cutting and folding of the rice, and the fan is to speed up the cooling process.

        3. re: ricepad

          My favorite sushi chef taught me his technique. Everybody is a little different, but his recipe was basically Murin, rice vinegar, sugar, pinch of salt, and a dash of lemon. Spread rice in big pan so that it's 1-2" deep. Slash rice in parallel lines, sprinkle liquid on top and slash again in perpendicular lines. Don't over mix or put into fridge, but allow time for rice to come to room temp.

          Make sure you use a good quality short grained sushi rice and rinse well before cooking. Use good purified or spring water to cook rice with.

          Myself personally I don't like the dashi as it imparts a fish flavor and I think that the fresh flavor of your fish should shine against the backdrop of the rice.

        4. Mirin, rice vinegar and salt was how I was taught by a wonderful Japanese cook. She did use something to fan the rice, but I'm not that picky.

          1. If you're just making a little bit of rice at home, you don't need a special bowl or anything but a large bowl will be helpful so you can mix the rice without mashing up the grains. A wooden spatula or flat spoon will help you use a folding action to mix the rice which is much gentler on the grains. The fan won't be necessary with a small amount of rice- the act of mixing it will cool the rice pretty well.

            I agree with the others here, never ever heard of putting dashi in the rice seasoning except if you're maybe making inari sushi and it's part of all the veggies and mix-ins that go into that kind of sushi. I just use rice vinegar, sugar, mirin and salt.

            Definitely season when the rice is really hot, if the rice is too cold, it doesn't absorb the seasoning very well. I tried it once with reheated rice that wasn't reheated enough and it was utter fail. Zapped the next batch for longer so it was steamy hot and it worked beautifully.

            If you're making enough for several rolls (say more than 3 cups of cooked rice) or a party, then the big tub mentioned by many others in this thread and (possibly) a fan will really help. Otherwise the rice will take forever to cool and it will be very hard to mix it evenly. You may get soggy, unevenly seasoned rice, with a puddle of seasoning at the bottom of the bowl.

            I was taught that the fanning helps make the grains glossier and keep the grains more separate so you get a nice texture instead of mush. I expect that's because the fanning cools it faster so you mix it less and the starches aren't released as much (making it gluey and dull). It also may slightly dry out the surface of the grains to keep them from sticking together so much. But that's just a guess.

            1. White vinegar,sugar and salt is all you need

              1. it's the beauty of the rice: fanning cools the grains with the su and creates a lovely polished sheen.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Cynsa

                  fanning also helps the hot grains of rice to absorb the su... if you have a wooden bowl - like a salad bowl, that's better than glass or metal.
                  re: fanning; I use my hair dryer on cool setting while I toss the hot rice with the su.
                  this is important - you really do not want cold wet grains of rice ;-(
                  It's not about cooling the rice, this is all about the hot rice absorbing the flavor of the su and the correct texture and taste of the rice.