What's The Difference: Japanese Rice Vs. Regular Rice

Regular rice is different from sushi rice.

IMAGE Shutterstock
ILLUSTRATOR Roselle Miranda

Baked sushi made an impact on our pandemic lives. It's so good, it blossomed into a trend that is definitely here to stay! 

If you like baked sushi so much, you may want to make baked sushi at home yourself instead of ordering it for delivery. That's where Japanese grocery stores, which are also online, become super useful. Not everyone has access to a specialty grocery store even if it is online. If you would like to know if you can use a substitute for the expensive Japanese rice, you'll be happy to know there is. However, you should also know the result will be different.  

Here's how Japanese rice and regular rice differs: 

1 Japanese rice is short and round. Regular rice is long and thin. 

At first glance, you'll know if you have Japanese rice or not. That's because Japanese rice is short and round, almost oval in shape. Regular rice, which can be dinorado, sinandomeng, or angelika, have longer kernels that are also narrow. 

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Japanese rice is short and round compared to regular rice.
Photo by Shutterstock
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2 Japanese rice is very sticky. Regular rice is not as sticky. 

The biggest difference when these two kinds of rice is cooked is the texture. Japanese rice is a kind of sticky rice, meaning this produces and has more starch than other kinds of rice, and this is what makes it perfect for sushi. This stickiness is what makes the sushi rice stick to the nori sheets. 

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Regular rice is not as sticky. 

Sushi rice is sticky. 
Photo by Roselle Miranda

3 Japanese rice is best when cooked almost al dente. Regular rice is best cooked until fluffy. 

If you think that Japanese rice looks like the rice you might use for risotto, you're right. Risotto rice is also known as the Arborio or the Carnaroli. Both are a kind of short-grain rice that easily absorbs liquids while retaining its shape without becoming too mushy and soft. This is an important attribute to risotto because of the way it's cooked and served.

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Sushi rice is similar to these short-grain rice and if you have these rice, you can also use it as sushi rice. 

Regular rice meanwhile is best cooked until it's soft and fluffy. It normally isn't cooked with a bite to it, unlike risotto. Since sushi rice is best when it's not mushy, cooking it a little under or al dente is better idea than overcooking it and making mushy rice. 

If you want to make sushi rice using regular rice, you can. While it won't be as sticky as Japanese rice, it can taste like it. Simply cook it until fluffy and then add the sushi rice vinegar to the mix so it will taste like sushi rice. 

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