Sushi rice is really brown rice?

I just watched the Food Network special on (Iron) Chef Morimoto’s new restaurant, and something that surprised me was that they apparently used a high grade California brown rice, run through a rice polisher, as their sushi rice. The polisher spit the rice out white as, well, white rice, which was kinda cool, if unexpected.

My GQ is this, is brown to white rice the norm for sushi? And if not, what’s the difference in terms of taste and texture and whatnot?

Brown rice is “hulled but unpolished rice that retains most of the bran layers” according to Webster’s. If you polish it, it turns into white rice. The restaurant is probably claiming that freshly polished rice is better than factory-polished rice. Sounds like a reasonable claim to me.

Well, every polished white rice starts out as a brown rice. You can, o’course, polish brown rice and get white rice.

In terms of taste and texture, I suppose you could use unpolished rice for sushi, but why would you want to? Much like risotto, shari (rice for sushi) needs to be made with a short-grain rice, high in amylopectin, which will be stickier than a long-grain. Shorter the grain, the stickier it’ll be. Arborio, OTOH, has a special quality that allows it, if cooked properly, to be both tender and chewy, to absord the cooking liquid and put out enough starch to make the sauce creamy.

I have actually made pseudo-risotto with Calrose shortgrain rice. Not bad, but the grains were rather indistinct.

Fresh rice? I never hoid a such a thing. I think rice is forever, like mustard.
I cooked and ate some rice once that had to be at least three years old,
and it tasted the same as ‘fresh’ rice. I know it was that old because I found it in a box that I hadn’t unpacked since I moved, and that was more than three years at the time.
Of course, polishing his own rice could have been for the sake of drama. I can certainly hang with that. :wink:

I don’t think that’s the case. You need stickiness for sushi rice, and California rice isn’t known for that.

There’s a definite difference in cooking and eating quality between rice that’s been recently harvested and rice that’s been in storage for some time. The old rice is drier and…mustier, for lack of a better word. Brown rice still has most of the bran layers, as scr4 said, and thus retains more moisture and more of the aromatics that give rice its scent and flavor. The longer the rice has been stored in a polished state, the more these compounds evaporate. Polishing the rice immediately before cooking will result allows the rice to retain more of that “fresh harvest” quality.

Geez, and my ignorant self thought brown rice was brown through and through. God I disappoint myself sometimes…

Puttering around on Google with “sushi rice”…Top hits…

This guyspecifies “short or medium grain” rice, but doesn’t say whether it’s brown or white.

This one says “Matured, Japanese or Californian short-grain rice is essential.” Again, doesn’t specify white or brown, but in the photos, it sure looks like “white rice” to me.

This one says, “Just promise me one thing – that you will not use instant rice, converted rice, or brown rice. The rice you use should be short-grained rice, preferably Cal-Rose.”

Sushi rice is going to have sushi vinegar poured into it, and it occurs to me that brown rice has a distinctive nutty flavor of its own, which might not go well with vinegar.

If I were making sushi, I’d go with white rice.

In Palo Alto, there is a brown rice sushi bar. Although there are a couple tables, it is basically take-out. It is pretty good too. Sort of nutty.

Basamati rice rules.

Well, Terminus Est, I’m going to have to get myself off to Morimoto’s new restaurant and try some of that. I guess I’ve never had really fresh rice, and I really like rice. Who could tell, the way it’s packaged in the supermarket.
I just looked all over my recently purchased bag of Mahatma, and way down on the bottom, on the crimp, is the date (I think) 10/01. Six months old, and I just bought it last Saturday. No wonder my rice palate isn’t more sophisticated. Grrr
Anyone else find a date on their bag of rice?
A new experience awaits! :smiley:

mangeorge, I think most of the rice you’ll find in the supermarket is quite old and has been processed to death. Though, I have seen rice bags that make it a point to say “fresh harvest” on them. That date you found on your rice bag is probably when the rice was packaged. God only knows how long ago it was harvested. For truly fresh rice, you really should go to rice-growing region, preferrably right after harvest time. I have yet to duplicate the experience of eating Basmati rice in India.

I live in Northern California. Word is they grow some pretty decent rice right here. I’m going to have to check around and see if I can find some fresh. I have no idea when harvest is, but I’ll find out. Now I’m really intrigued.
The search is on.
Peace, and thanks,

According to the California Rice Commision, harvest is in September or October. So that date on your bag might have actually been the harvest date. On the other hand, the Mahatma Rice website says that they have a little code on the package that lets you trace the date of production. You might want to check for yourself.

There it is! 12/14/01, in Abbeville. LA. Cool, I guess.
While searching for ‘fresh rice’ I found;
friends of yours?
You might not want to go there. :wink:

Someone forgot to tell them that the 80s are over. :smiley:

Well, TE, that’s about all I could find on google and sherlock.
I’ll go to GQ and ask “The Others”.