Is Calrose Rice Good for Making Sushi?

With calrose being one of the most common varieties of rice in the US, it’s only natural to ask if it can be used for making sushi.

Can calrose be used for sushi? With this variety of rice belonging in the medium-grain category, it should perform reasonably well when making sushi. However, you might want to make some adjustments to your usual cooking method so that it comes out with more ideal characteristics. Specifically, you want to increase your water for a stickier consistency.

Sushi requires the rice to be stickier than you would normally get from the usual way to cook rice, but it can be quite easy to make a mistake here and ruin the mixture.

How to Prepare Calrose Rice for Sushi

From a purely technical standpoint, calrose rice is not as good as traditional Japanese sushi rice. Even so, this has not stopped a lot of establishments from using it for that exact purpose. It’s just much easier to get ahold of and as long as you know how to prepare it properly to suit the job, it should perform reasonably well.

It only really has to fit a few requirements such as:

·         Stickiness

·         Fluffiness

·         Whiteness

Getting those right is where you can start with your journey towards using any rice for sushi. Obviously, there will be some other concerns if you are going to for the authentic route, but that’s really not the main issue right now. If we are talking about calrose, you can just follow a few steps to turn it into usable sushi rice, which the table below contains.

Add the appropriate amount of rice to the potMeasure the rice and make sure that you will only use the amount that you need
Add more water than normal to the potAdd the usual amount of water that you do for cooking the rice and then add another half cup
Do not wash the rice and allow to soakBagged rice usually comes in a clean and would be ready for cooking, so just let it soak for 15 minutes before cooking
Cook the riceCook the rice in the manner that you want, though, the rice cooker or steamer would be best
Open the lid slightly after cookingOnce the rice is cooked, it would be best to open the lid slightly and leave it so for about five minutes so that the rice cools faster
Transfer rice to a new container and seasonAfter cooling the rice, you need to transfer it to a glass bowl if you have one and fluff it to break the grains apart so that you can season it evenly
Cover and chill or serveWhen you are done seasoning the rice, cover it with a clear film or clean, damp cloth and refrigerator, or use for making sushi right away

Those are the very simple steps involved in making calrose rice into usable sushi rice, so make sure that you follow them closely. Of course, if you are going to make sushi, using actual sushi rice would be ideal. However, you will have to make do with what you have.

Why Calrose Rice Works as Sushi Rice

You might be wondering right now why calrose even works as sushi rice if it is a variety that is popular in California. Well, that is precisely because it is popular in California; a state that contains the largest population of Asian immigrants. Naturally, the most popular rice over there would be the rice that is closest to what the consumers have gotten used to.

Now, it is very important to note that not all Asian immigrants have the same experiences when it comes to rice. In the case of Indians, for example, the more prevalent variety is the long grain rice. However, for everyone else, short and medium varieties are the norm.

To that end, medium-grain rice like calrose would naturally end up being one of the most important and popular. This is also why this type of rice is used for making sushi in many restaurants. It’s just so convenient and readily available. As such, while it is not exactly the ideal option, it is one that a lot of chefs can live with.

Speaking of which, using this rice really isn’t all that bad. Except for some minor differences in just how sticky it is, the grains still do meet the required criteria. The taste is not that bad, either, so most customers should be able to tolerate it.

What Is the Ideal Sushi Rice?

If we are going to talk about the kind of rice that is ideal for sushi, though, it would have to be strains that come directly from Japan. There seems to be this idea that regular Japanese rice and Japanese sushi rice are the same things. They are not.

Some farms specialize in cultivating rice that is meant to be stickier than others. This will then make them clump together, easier, which is perfect for both regular meals and when making sushi. Either way, the grains will easily stick to the chopsticks, which is used for eating both kinds of meals.

Digging into the point about the qualities of the rice, even more, the ideal sushi rice grains need to be short, stout, round, and white. This will make sure that there will be no external flavors that will affect the balance of the taste when you eat the sushi and its various components.

It should also be noted that there are some grains of rice that keep for longer than others. High-quality Japanese sushi rice can last for a long time and will be usable for an extended period if stored properly. Other types of rice, on the other hand, can spoil after only a few hours.

Related Questions

Do You Rinse Calrose Rice?

If you want the calrose rice to retain its stickiness, you don’t have to rinse it. The only reason to rinse rice is when it comes from a questionable source, where the storage practices might not have been the best. For most rice products sold in the supermarkets, though, rinsing should not be needed.

What is the Best Brand of Rice for Sushi?

There is no such thing as the best brand for sushi rice since a lot of them can be quite subjective. However, it is true that Japonica and calrose are both popular variants that are used even in professional kitchens. So you can just go with those if you have any doubts with regard to rice quality.

Real Sushi Rice Vs. Regular Rice

There are a lot of misunderstandings with regards to the matter of how sushi rice differs from regular rice and how regular rice can become sushi rice. In fact, there are also misunderstandings about the term sushi rice itself because it can actually mean two things that are not completely different but are not exactly the same either.

So, just to clear things up, let’s talk about this for a bit. To start with, any rice can be sushi rice but sushi rice grains are not like any rice. When talking about sushi rice, you are actually referring to the rice that was cooked, seasoned, and flavored for use in making sushi. Sushi rice grains are rice grains that are specifically used for making sushi.

That is to say, these are rice grains that meet the needs of those who will be making the sushi rice for making rolls, blocks, and the like. They have the necessary starch contents, are of the right shape, and are of the right color. Not all rice variants meet those criteria, after all.

Why Long Grain Rice is Unsuitable for Sushi

Speaking of which, the most unsuitable types of rice for use in sushi are the long gran variety simply because they don’t really have a lot of starch content. These are the types of rice that are quite loose and easy to fluff after cooking, which is excellent for other types of dishes. However, this makes them simply incompatible with sushi.

In order to mold the sushi into the forms that will be served, they need to be able to clump together. If the grains don’t have enough starch, they tend to come apart quite easily, which then makes them extremely incompatible with sushi. What’s more, sushi is consumed whole, which puts the diners at risk of inhaling any loose grains, thus causing them to cough painfully and sputter.

Since it can be assumed that you would rather avoid that kind of scenario, it is only natural that you would want to go with the rice variants that won’t come loose. On that note, there are times when you can actually use long grain rice for sushi and this is when you are making hand rolls.

Since you basically make those in large portions and you take bites out of them rather than pop them in your mouth whole, there is less of an issue of inhalation. This is pretty much the only exception, though. 

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