Sumeshi: The Japanese Vinegared Sushi Rice
Sumeshi is the Japanese vinegared sushi rice that’s inside of the maki rolls, among many other sushi dishes. It’s also incorrectly called “shari”, but it’s only shari when it has been formed into the balls used for nigiri.
So all sushi rice is called sumeshi, but only the balls used for nigiri are shari.
In this post we'll cover:
What is sushi rice?
Sushi rice is a type of short grain rice that is used for making sushi. It is also known as sushi-meshi or su-meshi. The grains of sushi rice are short and plump, and they stick together when cooked properly. This makes it the perfect type of rice for creating sushi rolls or nigiri sushi.
Sushi rice is typically cooked in a rice cooker with a sushi vinegar solution. This helps to give the rice its signature flavor and aroma. Once the rice is cooked, it is then cooled and formed into small balls or ovals for nigiri or spread across a sheet of nori seaweed to make sushi rolls (maki).
If you’re looking to make your own sushi at home, be sure to use sushi rice for the best results.
Is sushi rice same as normal rice?
No, sushi rice is not the same as normal rice. It is a type of short grain rice that has been specifically cultivated for making sushi. The grains are shorter and plumper than regular rice, and they have a higher starch content. This helps them to stick together better when cooked, which is important for creating the perfect sushi roll or nigiri sushi.
Can I use regular rice for sushi?
If you don’t have any sushi rice on hand, you can try using short grain rice or even Arborio rice. Keep in mind that the results may not be quite the same as if you had used sushi rice, but it will still be delicious.
What is sushi rice called at the grocery store?
If you’re looking for sushi rice at the grocery store, it is sometimes called sushi-meshi or sumeshi if it’s a Japanese brand or just japonica rice to indicate it’s from Japan. Sushi rice is also imported under the Calrose rice name. It is usually located in the international foods aisle.
What does sushi rice taste like?
Sushi rice has a slightly sweet and sour taste due to the sushi vinegar that is used to cook it. The rice itself is also quite sticky, which helps it to adhere to the other ingredients in a sushi roll.
Origin of sumeshi
Sushi rice is thought to have originated in China, where it was used as a way to preserve fish. The rice would be packed around the fish and then fermented for several months. This process not only preserved the fish, but also created a delicious, umami-rich product.
The Japanese eventually adapted this technique and began using it to create sushi. They swapped out the fish for other ingredients like vegetables and shellfish, and began using rice vinegar instead of fermentation to create a more mellow flavor.
Sushi rice has come a long way since its humble beginnings, but it still remains an essential component of any good sushi dish.
Sushi rice is a staple ingredient for many Japaense dishes, not only sushi but other beloved creations like onigiri as well.
So you should definitely learn to make it and start using it to make your favorite restaurant-style meals.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.