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Rice is one of the most important elements when making sushi. Sushi rice is not used plain, it must be seasoned. It then becomes sumeshi (also called shari). Sumeshi is obtained by mixing rice vinegar, salt and a little sugar with the rice. The rice used should be a round rice, which becomes sticky after cooking. Avoid sticky dessert rice and long grain rice varieties. The preparation of sumeshi is identical whatever the type of sushi to be prepared (maki, nigiri, temaki, etc…).


  • 600g of ground rice and 750ml of clear water.
  • 1½ glass of rice vinegar.
  • 1½ tablespoon of sugar.
  • 1½ teaspoon of salt.

These last 3 ingredients can be replaced by special sushi vinegar. This special sushi seasoning can be found in liquid form in bottles (Mizkan sushi vinegar or Kikkoman sushi vinegar for example) or as a powder to sprinkle on hot rice. Follow the instructions for these products to find out the appropriate quantities.

A large container for mixing the rice, ideally a sushi oke (also known as a hangiri).
A spatula.

. Preparation of the rice:

Put the rice in a bowl filled with water and stir it vigorously by hand. Empty the water and repeat the process 2 or 3 times until the water becomes almost clear. Let the rice stand in the water for about 20 minutes and then drain.

  1. Cook the rice:
    The ideal way to cook rice is in a pressure cooker. Put the drained rice in the pressure cooker, add the water, and cook. At the end of cooking, the appliance switches to the “keep warm” mode. Cover and let the rice rest for 10 minutes.
    If using a saucepan, put the drained rice and water in the saucepan. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Turn down and leave about 12 minutes covered. The rice should have absorbed all the water. Remove the pan from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes covered.
  2. Season the rice:
    Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl until everything is well dissolved. You can replace this mixture with a ready-made seasoning such as vinegar for sushi.
  3. Preparation:
    Place the rice in a large, preferably flat-bottomed wooden container. The traditional utensil is the hangiri, a large, round wooden container with a flat bottom. Using a spatula or a flat wooden spoon, gently separate the grains and pour in the seasoning. Mix gently so as not to crush the grains and cool the rice slightly with a fan. Do not overcook the rice so that it does not harden.

Keep the sushi rice covered with a damp cloth or hangiri lid to prevent it from drying out.

Read also : grandma chocolate pie


A variation of sumeshi uses kombu algae when cooking the rice. A sheet of kombu seaweed of about 5cm in length is placed with the rice and left during cooking. Once the rice is cooked, the leaf is removed. The rice is then seasoned normally.
The kombu will make it easier to cook the rice and enhance its flavor. Its use is optional.

Depending on the rice or sushi vinegar used, the quantities to be used may need to be adjusted a little. Please refer to the instructions for use of the product.


Anna is a registered dietitian with a bachelor’s degree and a certificate in general nutrition. she is started as a nutritionist clerk in 2017 and moved to buzzrecipes in 2018. she is now manages author communications, topic selection, and medical review of all nutrition content.

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