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Recently I craved some onigirazu, a fun recipie for sandwich-like rice-and-goodness-packed thing wrapped in nori, but I didn't have any sushi or sticky rice. I knew it would not work using a regular long-grained rice, as it would just fall apart too easily and be a total disaster. I also was way too lazy/busy to get out and get some proper rice.

The idea popped into my head suddenly - the rice grains are being ground down to smaller size and hand-picked to contain more starch. The more starchy they are, the more sticky they become, as starch gelatinizes under heat. You can feel that when you are spreading rice while making sushi rolls - the rice is extremely sticky and you need to have a bowl of water at hand to aviod sticking to everything.

How about adding the extra starch during the cooking process? It helps to get your sauces thicker, why wouldn't it help your rice stick together more?

Now, I know this method will totally insult and outrage every radical in sushi art, as it's not a traditional method, and I'm not sure if it's even used anywhere, but as the time of need arises, you get too lazy or stingy to get the expensive rice, you might give it a try.

Step 1: Get the Stuff Ready

You are going to need:

  • Regular rice. Any type will work, I believe, even brown rice would do. You might even try to experiment a little and use some other carbohydrate, like groats if you feel adventorous. Groats sushi might be... awful, actually.
  • Starch. I used potato starch, as it is more common than corn starch in my region, but I believe any starch will work.
  • Cooking equipment - a pot or a pan, something to mix with (spoon, spatula, any weapon of choice) and a source of heat.
  • Any other ingredients you are going to use to make the final dish.

Step 2: The Boring Stuff

Boil the rice, the old fashioned way. Try not to add just enough water to let the rice get soft and leave a little bit after the cooking. You can always add more.

If you're using rice packed in little plastic bags - cook it and then pour it into the pot/pan.

Step 3: The Magic

Now, for the fun stuff.

If your rice is soft (and I mean it is supposed to be ready to eat as it is), add a little splash of water, just enough to liquify it a little and add a little bit of starch.

I used 1 tablespoon of starch for every 100 g/0,5 a cup of rice (uncooked), but you might have to adjust it as you go along. Just let the starch sit in the pot or a while until it mixes in and gelatinizes. Allow it to cook for a few seconds until you add more starch.

Always mix the starch in vigorously and let it boil for a few seconds, constantly stirring. You don't want to eat raw starch.

The rice gets sticky very fast and is ready to use seconds after you mix it in. It is scary how simple it is.

The starch, at least potato starch, has no distinct smell or taste and did not affect the taste of my dish in any way. You might want to use it all up quickly, as the rice gets dry and lumpy in just a few hours if exposed to air (only on the surface).

I would apriciate any input on this method, both form people who have just tried it, knew about it, and modified it. I haven't tried any other starch, and my test batch was a simple long-grained rice, but sky seems to be the limit. Feel free to experiment and post your results!

I'll try to include some pictures soon.

Take care,

Mike

<p>Interesting trick. I might have to try this the next time that I make sushi.</p>

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