Despite its reputation as a "gourmet" food, sushi's origins are humble. The dish first emerged as a means of using extra fish by preserving it in rice and vinegar. Typically composed of uncooked fish, seaweed, rice and flavorings, sushi is popular in Japan and other countries. Rice is central to the sushi experience; in fact, the word "sushi" translates to "vinegared rice."
This type of sushi rice originated in Japan but is presently cultivated elsewhere, too, including in California and Tennessee. Called Koshi for short, it is a short-grain rice whose firmness, aroma and sweetness make it well-suited for sushi. It has a slightly creamy color. Koshi is often considered the standard for sushi rice and is widely used in other dishes as well, or simply eaten by itself.
Akitakomachi is widely consumed in Japan, where it is also popularly used in preparing sushi. Its properties resemble those of Koshihikari rice. Akitakomachi tends to be firm, moist and less sticky than other varieties. Its taste ranges between neutral and nutty.
Japonica rice, as the name implies, is also native to Japan. It a short-grain variety and is usually consumed "shinmai"-style, meaning within three months of being harvested. However, fresh Japonica rice is difficult to commercially obtain outside of Japan.
Sushi rice is typically prepared with a vinegary mixture that gives it flavor and consistency. After the rice is boiled with kelp, it is drained and mixed with a solution composed of rice vinegar, caster sugar and salt.
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