How to make sushi vinegar?

10th August, 2021

Sushi can’t have its characteristic taste and texture if it doesn’t contain rice vinegar. Without this essential ingredient, the dish may just have a very plain taste.  

When sushi was first invented, the vinegar flavoured rice was used as a way to preserve fish. However, chefs found that the vinegar isn’t only useful as a preservative, rather its taste can actually complement fish toppings. 

Today, you’ll find sushi seasoning mostly made of vinegar, being used to keep rice grains sticking together, to help hold the shape of a sushi roll or onigiri and to add that unique umami taste that complements all types of fillings and toppings in sushi and pokes. 

Although you can find various ready-made sushi vinegars or seasonings  that can complement sushi rice, making your own will give you complete control over the exact flavour you’d like to achieve – and it’s easy! 

Sushi vinegar recipe 

The sushi vinegar recipe is extremely easy to prepare and will only take around 5 minutes. 

The ingredient quantity will depend on the number of servings you require. This blog will give you recipe details for 1 kg of sushi rice. 

Ingredients 

  • 100ml of rice vinegar or Shiragiku 
  • 80g of white sugar 
  • 20g of salt 

Preparation Method 

  1. Mix rice vinegar or Shiragiku with sugar and salt in a saucepan 
  2. Stir the ingredients on medium to low heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved 
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer without allowing it to boil 
  4. Turn off the heat once the ingredients have dissolved and the mixture is smooth
  5. Let the sushi vinegar cool down completely before pouring it in sushi rice or refrigerating it  

 Why is sushi vinegar important for sushi rice? 

Have you ever wondered where sushi gets a sticky texture and subtle sweetness from? The sushi vinegar – without it, sushi rice would appear looser; lacking that sweet, tangy flavour that defines it. 

As mentioned above, you can find seasoned or unseasoned sushi vinegar in your local wholesalers or Japanese/Asian shops. 

However, if you want to create your own unique recipe, use Mizkan’s range of vinegars (Shiragiku, Suehiro, Yumai or Ginmai) and add your own touch by mixing other ingredients depending on the taste you want to achieve. 

Sometimes premade sushi vinegars or seasonings can be too sweet, too acidic, or just not quite to your taste. That’s when making your own sushi vinegar can come in handy – as it allows you to adjust the taste according to your preference and create a recipe unique to you. 

Whether you want to achieve a strong umami flavour, a subtle tang, a strong or mellow acidity or deep or shallow sweetness – making your own sushi vinegar will allow you to do exactly that. 

All you have to do is buy our specially crafted spirit vinegar Shiragiku, and season it according to your taste. 

Can you make sushi without sushi vinegar?  

You can’t really make sushi without sushi vinegar. This is an essential part of sushi as it not only helps the rice stick together, but it also complements the various sushi toppings by adding a deep umami flavour and vinegar tang. 

However, if you don’t want to create your own sushi vinegar but want a flavoursome substitute – using our specially crafted Sushi seasoning JS – 47 or JS – Alpha will help you achieve that mellow acidity and deep umami flavour often found in sushi rice. 

What other dishes can sushi vinegar complement? 

The benefit of making your own sushi vinegar is that it can be used in many other fusion or Japanese dishes such as mushroom, avocado & broccoli poke and carrot pickle salad

In addition to that, our recipes page will help you explore how the vinegar can be used for pickling, marinated, stir-fries, dipping sauces and cocktails. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to make sushi vinegar, and that you now understand why is it extremely important for sushi – and even how you can add your own touch to it. Sign up to our newsletter if you’d like to get more Japanese recipes, get the latest foodservice trends and chef news or get in touch with us if you have questions about any of our products.