Visiting my local supermarket, I often noticed sushi and arborio rice being kept in the same aisle. It made me wonder, is sushi rice the same as arborio rice?
No, they are different in properties. Sushi rice is Japanese short grain rice, whereas arborio rice is a thicker, slightly oval-shaped rice. Sushi rice gets sticky after cooking, which is suitable for sushi. But after cooking, arborio rice gets harder, making them unfit for sushi, ideal for risotto.
Continue reading the article to get a more profound and better idea about these two types of rice.
Is Sushi Rice The Same As Arborio?
Despite having similar shapes, sizes, and stickiness, the two rice have one distinctive property. Arborio rice is much chalkier than sushi rice. This chalkiness makes arborio rice unsuitable for most Asian dishes, including sushi.
This chalkiness occurs because of the deformed grain’s core starch during maturation. As a result, the rice gains a hard center after cooking. It may be great for dishes like risotto but is not the best for sushi or other rice-centered Asian dishes.
Likewise, sushi rice is too mushy and soft; it lacks the chalkiness or arborio rice’s signature al dente bite. Therefore, using sushi rice for risotto may not be a good idea.
Before we dive further into the differences between the rice, let us know a bit more about each.
1. Everything About Sushi Rice
Sushi rice is Japanese short grain rice known for its stickiness due to high amounts of starch amylopectin. This starch gelatinizes when cooked, creating a creamy, gel-like texture that is perfect for making sushi.
Furthermore, this rice provides a smooth and moist texture, essential for rolling and forming sushi or onigiri shapes.
2. Everything About Arborio Rice
Arborio rice is a very popular rice from Italy which is named after the place of its origin. However, this rice is now heavily grown in Texas and California of the United States.
Arborio rice is thicker than other rice, has an oval form, and is pearly white. The rice is known to be stickier than sushi rice. When cooked, the rice instantly absorbs maximum flavors from the ingredients and gives a creamy taste.
Notable Differences Between Sushi Rice And Arborio Rice
Even though both rice are identical when kept side by side, some differences make them distinct.
Here are some significant differences we found.
1) The Texture And Flavour
This is probably the main reason why the rice can not be interchanged when cooking. The rice has a difference in taste and flavor due to its texture.
Sushi rice has moist, soft, and sticky, which is perfect for sushi but cannot be used for risotto as the dish would become too creamy and gooey.
Likewise, Arborio rice is much more chalky and firm, with a soft exterior and crunchy interior, which gives the signature risotto taste. It may be perfect for dishes like risotto but cannot be used in any sushi for two reasons.
The sushi would become comparatively harder, and it will be hard to roll arborio rice because of its crunchy interior.
Sushi rice is a staple in most Japanese houses as a daily meal due to people being adjusted to its taste and structure. It is also used in dishes like onigiri, curry, etc.
In contrast, Arborio is Italian delicacy rice used in dishes such as risotto, rice pilaf, and much more.
Surprisingly, both the rice has the same calories. For every 100 grams of rice, both of them have 130 calories. However, the calorie count also depends on the side you eat and the spices you put in.
Can I Substitute Sushi Rice With Arborio Rice?
No, you cannot. As mentioned above, arborio rice hardens in the middle when cooked because Arborio grains distort. The firmness gives the rice a chewy taste and texture, which is unsuitable for sushi.
Similarly, you cannot substitute Arborio rice with sushi rice because sushi rice is too soft and mushy. It does not have the hard center to provide the al Dante pizza-like bite required to make pizza.
Despite being remarkably similar, neither of them are interchangeable.
Top 5 Sushi Rice We Recommend
Sushi rice can seem challenging to make, but it is not as challenging as it may seem when you have the right ingredient. The first and most important aspect of making sushi easy has the best quality rice.
Here are the top 5 sushi rice we recommend.
Top 5 Arborio Rice We Recommend
Like cooking sushi, making risotto is no piece of cake. Making a good risotto is tough and challenging for many. But having the proper rice can make it easier by a margin.
Here are our top 5 best sushi rice.
How To Perfectly Cook Sushi Rice
Before making the perfect tasting sushi, you must ensure the sushi’s base; the rice is cooked to perfection. The sushi will not be good if your rice is not made perfectly.
To make the best sushi rice, you need
- Japanese short grain rice
- Kombu(kelp) [optional]
- Rice vinegar
Once you have all the required ingredients, it’s time to cook. Follow these steps accurately
Start by washing your rice properly and transferring it into your preferred sushi cooking measure. You can either use a rice cooker or use a traditional pot.
We recommend using a rice cooker to get the perfect rice every time.
Now, you have to prepare sushi vinegar. To do so, pour as much rice vinegar as you like into a bowl, add sugar according to taste, and mix it once.
When done, add a pinch of salt to it and stir well. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice for some added taste.
Once the rice is cooked, shift it to a baking sheet with parchment paper or a sushi oke. Sushi oke or hangiri is the traditional method the Japanese sushi chef uses, but if you don’t have it available, parchment paper is just fine.
Now, pour the sushi vinegar into the rice and mix it well. Use a wooden sushi spoon to mix it properly. Give it a thorough stir to ensure every bit of rice is coated with the mixture.
Now take a piece of thin towel and slightly soak it in water. Once dampen, cover your rice with it and let it rest.
Your sushi rice is ready to use whenever you want.
Additional Cooking Tips For Sushi Rice
Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you get your sushi rice to the next level of perfection.
Tip 1- Get The Right Rice
We cannot express enough how important it is to get the proper type of rice. Not every short grain rice is sushi rice, and not every sushi rice is good. It is crucial to get high-quality Japanese short grain sushi rice; if you want to make good quality sushi.
Follow our list above to know which sushi rice is of the best quality.
Tip 2-Rinse And Soak
Most people skip this step, which is exactly why their rice does not come out as good as it is supposed to. Wash your rice a few times to ensure all the starch is washed away. Once that is done, let it soak for an additional 30 minutes.
It’s an optional tip but is beneficial. Using kombu or dried kelp when cooking your sushi rice will massively enhance the rice and aromatize it. It adds a subtle fragrance and umami taste to your rice, giving it that extra touch.
Tip 4- Use Less Water
Most forget but remember that as we will be adding the sushi vinegar mixture to our rice, we need to add less water. Excessive water can make the rice soggy.
Tip 5- Homemade Sushi Vinegar
We recommend using homemade sushi vinegar over store-bought ones.
Store-bought ones are sometimes too salty or too sweet and not as tasty. We have already mentioned above how to make sushi vinegar.
Just follow that and make it according to your preference.
Tip 6- Add Sushi Vinegar to Hot Rice
This is a common mistake rookie sushi makers make. They wait too long before adding the sushi vinegar, and the rice cools off.
When you take your rice out, add the sushi vinegar to it immediately. It is to make sure the rice does not get mushy or smashed.
How To Wash Rice
Many people do not know this, but it is crucial to wash rice to remove the starch, not less what type of rice it is. From sushi to Arborio, all types of rice need to be washed to get the best taste.
There are two main ways to wash rice.
Fine Mesh Strainer Method
- Get yourself a fine mesh strainer and fill it up with rice.
- Then, take it to the sink and put a bowl or pot under the sieve.
- Once that is done, start running cold water and let it pass through the rice. You will notice cloudly water getting filled up on the pot.
- Dump it as often as required until it is filled with clear water.
- If you want to keep the rice mushier, don’t wait until it’s clear; you need the starch.
- Give it a quick rinse and stop washing when the rice gets semi-clear, and it should give you perfectly mushy rice.
The Bowl And Claw Method
- Take a large bowl or rice cooker’s bowl and fill it up with rice.
- Then go to your sink and completely submerge the rice in cold water.
- Make a claw shape with your hands and gently swirl it on the rice and water.
- Keep doing it round and round again and again until the water is all cloudy.
- Then pour the water off the whole, holding the rice with your hands.
- Repeat until you get clear water.
You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: Difference Between Sushi Rice and White Rice – You Should Know
- What can I substitute for Arborio rice?
There are a few substitutes available for Arborio rice in the market. If you ask us, we recommend using Baldo rice, Basmati rice, Brown rice, or Red Cargo rice instead of Arborio rice.
- What rice is similar to sushi rice?
Some rice is similar to sushi rice, such as Arborio rice, Cauliflower rice, Quinoa, etc.
- Can risotto be made with sushi rice?
No, it cannot. Sushi rice does not distort, so they do not have the hard and chewy center that risotto rice typically was.
Furthermore, sushi rice is more moist and mushy, which will lead to not having the proper texture required for risotto. So you can’t use sushi rice to make risotto.
- Is Arborio rice for sushi?
No, it is not for their toothy center. Instead, Arborio rice is ideal for risotto.
Is sushi rice the same as Arborio? No, it is not. Both the rice look identical and feel identical when cooked, but some distinctive internal properties make them very different from each other.
Sushi rice is all the way soft and mushy when cooked while being extremely sticky. On the other hand, Arborio rice is chalky with a bit hard on the center.
This specific difference makes it impossible to interchange or substitute both the rice for each other.