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Why does every sushi rice recipe call for vinegar?


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I can't think of one sushi restuarant that puts vinegar in their rice.And if they do, neither my family or I can taste it. When i make sushi rice and follow pretty much every online recipe, it calls for vinegar, and even when i cut back on it, my family hates the smell and flavor of the rice.

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? Not trying to be rude but this is a bizarre question.  The 'Su' in sushi comes from the word Sui meaning vinegar/acidic/pickled.  Sushi is basically vinegared rice + stuff . I don't know where you are going that doesn't use a seasoned vinegar in their rice but my guess is that if you asked the itamae they are using it. Maybe there is something wrong with your prep?

 

That being said if your family wants raw fish on plain rice, go for it, you are cooking for their pleasure not mine. I think you'll find the rice is a bit more difficult to handle, shape and form but that can be overcome.

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I have tried many types of vinegars from high quality rice vinegar, AJI Mirin, to even apple cider and plain white distilled. Seems no matter what the vinegar taste is too present. Not sure why we can't detect vinegar in the sushi we buy from sushi bars. I am not talking about high end 5 star places, but good fresh sushi made while you sit/wait.

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Rice vinegar would probably be the mildest. Maybe it's the quantity of vinegar you're using. Also, there's supposed to be some sugar (and other ingredients) in there to balance it out.

 

Lemon juice, I don't know about that.

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2 minutes ago, MokaPot said:

Rice vinegar would probably be the mildest. Maybe it's the quantity of vinegar you're using. Also, there's supposed to be some sugar (and other ingredients) in there to balance it out.

 

Lemon juice, I don't know about that.

I think the worst recipe i remember trying was Alton Browns sushi rice recipe. I don't recall the amounts but it was horrible.

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you really cant sub out another vinegar for rice vinegar. It has a lower acidity and mild flavor.

 

A standard recipe is sushi vinegar would be

 

1/2 c rice vinegar (not seasoned rice vinegar)

1T fine sea salt

1/4c sugar

 

for the rice:

 

1 cup rice

1 1/4 cup water

 

1 oz sushi vinegar

 

rinse 3x

cook +rest 10 min

cool in a wide bowl /cut in vinegar

Edited by AAQuesada (log)
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1 hour ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Do you want to share the recipe you’re using and that you find vinegary?

Well, all of them, lol. But the last one we tried was an instant pot sushi rice recipe. The rice turned out amazing, but as usual the vinegar ruined it. I dont have the link, I apparently clicked on a few so i don't know which one i used.

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Chances are you are not eating at a Japanese run sushi restaurant, otherwise you should taste that the rice is indeed slightly flavored. 

 

I would suggest a few things re: the above recommendations...

 

Chances are you will need to rinse the rice more than 3x - my experience has been 5-8x.  That is, until the water is totally clear.

 

I would sub the sugar for maple syrup - a local Japanese chef taught me that trick, really nice.

 

Also, if you have a wooden bowl, cool and fold the vinegar while the rice is in there, fanning to cool it down and let the mixture evaporate faster.  If not, I have used a big wooden cutting board.  The wood is key to help absorb some of the moisture/inevitable condensation from the rice. 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, FeChef said:

Well, all of them, lol. But the last one we tried was an instant pot sushi rice recipe. The rice turned out amazing, but as usual the vinegar ruined it. I dont have the link, I apparently clicked on a few so i don't know which one i used.

 

Did that Instant Pot recipe involve putting the vinegar / rice / water mixture into the pot, locking down the lid, and pressure-cooking it all together? If yes, that might be the problem.

 

The rice is usually cooked completely separate. The vinegar mixture is added later and folded into the rice, as other posters have described.

 

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Every sushi place I have ever been to in NYC uses vinegared rice.  Different places add different amounts - some places are known for having a highly vinegared rice, while others are more subtle, but never is it absent.

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If I am mistaken surely someone will let me know, but my understanding is that sushi is raw fish (or whatever) that is draped over a mound of vinegar rice. If you want raw fish but don't want vinegar rice order sashimi. The fish is separate and the rice, in my experience is not vinegared. Correct?

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1 hour ago, TicTac said:

Also, if you have a wooden bowl, cool and fold the vinegar while the rice is in there, fanning to cool it down and let the mixture evaporate faster. 

 

Would the heat and the fanning help dissipate the vinegar-iness, vs mixing vinegar into cooled rice?

 

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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It is not  baptism by vinegar but a subtle inclusion during the fanning process as others have noted. As always there are variations. Mixing around is not "it" in my experience.

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Yes, the vinegar into the warm rice while fanning! I don't want to make it sound too complicated. Think if  one starts with a proper vinegar mix (ie no lemon juice/apple cider/distilled vinegar) and well cooked rice the rest you'll get through experience

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1 hour ago, Katie Meadow said:

If I am mistaken surely someone will let me know, but my understanding is that sushi is raw fish (or whatever) that is draped over a mound of vinegar rice. If you want raw fish but don't want vinegar rice order sashimi. The fish is separate and the rice, in my experience is not vinegared. Correct?

 

Nigiri sushi (nigirizushi) is your first sentence. Sashimi is your second sentence, but rice is not necessarily involved, although sometimes there'll be a bowl on the side. Sashimi also can be beef or other meat. 

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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7 minutes ago, Alex said:

 

Nigiri sushi (nigirizushi) is your first sentence. Sashimi is your second sentence, but rice is not necessarily involved, although sometimes there'll be a bowl on the side. Sashimi also can be beef or other meat. 

Okay, but if you order a bowl of rice on the side it isn't usually vinegared, right?

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57 minutes ago, Katie Meadow said:

If I am mistaken surely someone will let me know, but my understanding is that sushi is raw fish (or whatever) that is draped over a mound of vinegar rice. If you want raw fish but don't want vinegar rice order sashimi. The fish is separate and the rice, in my experience is not vinegared. Correct?

Rarely do I order sashimi as I prefer sushi - the execution of the rice is a key tell in the chef's caliber (and I like really good rice!).  I seem to recall when I last ordered carashi, the rice was seasoned.  I would hazard a guess that if you simply order a side of rice at a Japanese restaurant (to accompany your sashimi), it will be just plain steamed rice; though I am sure if asked the chef would oblige to give you seasoned rice.

 

 

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5 hours ago, MokaPot said:

 

Did that Instant Pot recipe involve putting the vinegar / rice / water mixture into the pot, locking down the lid, and pressure-cooking it all together? If yes, that might be the problem.

 

The rice is usually cooked completely separate. The vinegar mixture is added later and folded into the rice, as other posters have described.

 

I remember it said to fold in a rice vinegar/sugar/salt mixture after the rice had been cooked, and cooled down.

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4 hours ago, Katie Meadow said:

If I am mistaken surely someone will let me know, but my understanding is that sushi is raw fish (or whatever) that is draped over a mound of vinegar rice. If you want raw fish but don't want vinegar rice order sashimi. The fish is separate and the rice, in my experience is not vinegared. Correct?

I always order sashimi. Salmon is my favorite, It is draped over rice, and nothing else. I can taste slight salt, and slight sugar, but never do i detect vinegar. 

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1 hour ago, FeChef said:

I always order sashimi. Salmon is my favorite, It is draped over rice, and nothing else. I can taste slight salt, and slight sugar, but never do i detect vinegar. 

 

I am confused.  Why would you expect sashimi to be served with vinegared rice?  You originally asked about sushi.  Sushi is vinegared rice with raw fish or other things.

 

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