Kid-friendly Sweet Sushi Rice Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Sweet Sushi Rice

Recipe: Sweet Sushi Rice

Sweet Sushi Rice

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Pixel-Shot/
prep time
5 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Sweet Sushi Rice

Sushi rice, or "shari" in Japanese, is a short-grained rice seasoned with a mixture of sweet rice vinegar and salt. This unique seasoning gives sushi rice its distinct flavor, slightly sweet and tangy, which complements the other ingredients in sushi rolls, hand rolls, and nigiri.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

Equipment Checklist

  • Small pot + matching lid
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon


Sweet Sushi Rice

  • 1 C sushi rice (or short-grain rice)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T rice vinegar


Sweet Sushi Rice

measure + boil + stir

Measure and combine 1 cup rice and 2 cups water in a small pot over medium heat and cover with a lid. The lid is important to create steam within the pot. Steam will give the rice a fluffy texture. Boil for roughly 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and small holes appear at the surface of the rice. Season with 1 pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar. Stir gently with a fork or wooden spoon, cover, and reserve for later.

Surprise Ingredient: Rice!

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Photo by Elizaveta Galitckaia/

Hi! I’m Rice!

"I'm just a little grass seed but loved the world over! I'm Rice! I'm an essential part of the diets of almost every culture! You may have eaten me with Mexican tacos, Korean bibimbap, Indian curries, Mongolian fried rice, Southern Creole gumbo, Filipino adobo, Hawaiian poke, or Japanese sushi, just to name a few!"

History & Etymology

  • Rice is a grain or grass, like wheat, millet, or barley. It was first cultivated in China somewhere between 6,000 and 9,000 years ago.
  • Rice is a seed from a grass species, usually Oryza sativa or Asian rice. The other domesticated rice species is Oryza glaberrima or African rice. African rice has been grown for 3,000 years and is hardier, more pest-resistant, and nuttier tasting rice than Asian rice. 
  • Rice is a staple food and supplies as much as half of the daily calories for half the world's population. In many countries, they eat rice at every meal. No wonder a few Asian countries value rice so highly that some of their translations of the word "eat" or "meal" also mean "rice."
  • China consumes the most rice worldwide. Annually, Asians eat over 300 pounds of rice per person, and Americans eat about 26 pounds per person.
  • Rice is the second-highest worldwide crop produced after maize (corn). However, since maize is mainly grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important grain for human consumption. 
  • The English word "rice" comes from Middle English which comes from the Old French "ris," from the Italian "riso," and finally, from the Greek "oruza."


  • Most types of rice are annual plants, meaning they live only one year. But several types of rice can survive and produce grains for up to 30 years. 
  • Rice is often categorized by its size—either short, medium, or long grain. Short grain, or japonica rice, has the highest starch content and makes the stickiest rice, while the long grain, or indica variety, is lighter and tends to remain separate when cooked. 
  • In addition to japonica and indica, there are two other categories: aromatic and glutinous. Aromatic is a medium to long-grained rice that generally results in a light and fluffy texture. Varieties in this category include Basmati and Jasmine, which you can find in grocery stores (more about these below). Glutinous rice (also called sticky, sweet, or waxy rice) has very low amylose (starch component) content, making it very sticky when cooked. 
  • Rice is also classified by its milling process. White rice has been milled the most, having had its hull (or husk), bran, and germ layers removed. Brown or whole grain rice has been milled to remove its hull, and rough or paddy rice has not been milled at all and cannot be consumed.
  • There is an abundance of different kinds of rice—globally, over 120,000 varieties. 
  • Rice cultivation is suited for countries with low labor costs and high rainfall as it is very labor-intensive and needs large amounts of water to grow. 

How to Pick, Buy & Eat

  • Brown rice is 100 percent whole grain and, therefore, the most nutritional of the many different forms. Brown rice retains the bran and germ because it is not milled as much as white rice, which loses a lot of nutrients in the milling process. However, brown rice takes longer to cook, about 45 minutes, compared to white rice, which takes 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Aromatic rices, named because they have distinct flavors and aromas (especially while cooking), include Basmati and Jasmine. Basmati is long-grained rice from India. It contains a compound also present in freshly baked bread and pandan spice and has nutty, spicy, and floral flavors. Jasmine rice is long-grained rice from Thailand and Cambodia. It also has the same compound found in Basmati rice and is similar but perhaps adds more of a grassy floral and slightly sweeter fragrance to a meal. Some people describe its flavor as close to popcorn. Jasmine is also stickier. 
  • Arborio is short-grained rice from Italy. Its grains remain firm when cooked and are chewy and creamy. Arborio rice is often used in making risotto and rice pudding because of its creamy texture and starchy taste that goes well with other flavors.
  • Rice is truly an international food, found in the cuisines of just about every country. It is often served as a side dish but can also be a vital component of main dishes and desserts.
  • Rice flour is made from finely ground rice. It is a thickening agent that prevents liquids from separating in refrigerated and frozen foods. Rice noodles used in many Asian dishes are made with rice flour, and you can also find it in desserts, like "mochi" and other rice cakes. It is a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.


  • Rice is a complex carbohydrate with very little sodium or fat, and it supplies 20 percent of the world's food energy.
  • Rice contains several B vitamins and manganese. Brown or whole grain rice is more nutritious than white rice, but white rice is often enriched by adding some B vitamins and iron back in. Brown rice is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, protein, and fiber.


Let's Learn About Japan!

Photo by yamasan0708/
  • Japan is an East Asian island country with more than 6,800 islands! However, there are five main islands: Hokkaido, Honshu (called "Hondo" or "mainland"), Kyushu, Okinawa, and Shikoku. 
  • The country is governed by a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with an emperor, a prime minister, and a legislature. 
  • Japanese is the official language, with English becoming more widespread in business and education. 
  • Japan lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire," contributing to its island geography. There are more than 111 active volcanoes, and Japan has the most earthquakes every year. Mount Fuji is the tallest mountain and volcano in Japan at 12,389.2 feet. 
  • Tokyo is Japan's capital and largest city. Japan's total area is 145,937 square miles, and its population is over 125.5 million. 
  • The Japanese word for Japan is "Nihon" or "Nippon." The Japanese or "kanji" characters used for its name mean "origin of the sun." This is the source of Japan's nickname, "Land of the Rising Sun." The red circle in the center of the Japanese flag represents the rising sun, or "circle of the sun." 
  • "Kanji" is a Japanese writing system that uses characters derived from Chinese writing. Each character represents a word or words. 
  • Ancient warriors of Japan were known as Samurai and were highly skilled swordsmen and fighters. 
  • Japan's national flower is the cherry blossom. The symbolism of the cherry blossom is abundant in Japan. The cherry blossom tree is also known as the Japanese cherry or "Sakura" (which means "cherry blossoms").
  • Haiku poetry originated in Japan. Haiku consists of just three lines, with the first line being 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables, and the 3rd line 5 syllables. 
  • Shigeichi Negishi, a Japanese engineer, created the first karaoke-like machine in 1967, using 8-track tapes and booklets for the lyrics. However, he was not successful in distributing his "Sparko Box" machines. 
  • Then, in the early 1970s, a Japanese musician, Daisuke Inoue, marketed tape machines, taped music, and amplifiers to bars to accompany regular people who wanted to get up on stage and sing, and his karaoke business model took off. 
  • Japan produces the most robotics globally. The ASIMO is a human-like robot created by Japanese engineers of Honda Motor Company in 2000. The acronym stands for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility.
  • Sumo wrestling is Japan's national sport, and like sumo, other martial arts originated in Japan, including karate, judo, kendo, jujutsu, and aikido. Western sports such as baseball, basketball, and soccer are also popular.
  • Since the 8th century, Coming of Age Day has been a holiday to celebrate a young person reaching the age of maturity—20 years old in Japan. Their special day serves to encourage them as they realize their adulthood. 
  • The Japanese tea ceremony is considered a traditional art in Japan, and some practice it as a hobby to share with family and friends. Tea was brought to Japan from China in the 9th century by a Buddhist monk. It is said that the ritual of drinking green tea began as a way for the monks to keep awake during meditation.
  • Japan has about four million vending machines, the highest per capita worldwide. The machines sell everything from hotdogs to underwear and soup to umbrellas!
  • In addition to sushi, other Japanese dishes include "soba" (thin buckwheat noodles), "teriyaki" (broiled or grilled seafood or meat with a soy sauce glaze), "tempura" (battered and deep-fried seafood, meat, and veggies), and yakitori (skewered grilled chicken). 
  • Many kids and adults enjoy bento boxes, which are lunch boxes filled with sushi and other snacks. Bento boxes are an experience with texture, shapes, and flavors!

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Japan?

  • Most school children in Japan wear uniforms, and their school breaks are shorter than in other countries. 
  • Kids have to learn 1,026 basic kanji characters by the time they finish sixth grade.
  • Parents and schools teach kids to respect their elders, teachers, and each other.
  • Primary school kids eat lunch together in their classrooms. A few students are assigned to get the lunches, serve them to their classmates, and return the dirty dishes to the school kitchen. Every student prepares themselves for lunch by cleaning their desks and washing their hands. In some schools they even put on a lunch uniform—a white garment and hat—to protect their clothes.
  • Some of the sports and martial arts kids participate in are baseball, soccer, swimming, judo, kendo, and karate.
  • School lunch may consist of rice or noodles, soup, fish or meat, fruit, salad, a cup of tea, and always a bottle or carton of milk.  
  • Two popular sweet treats kids in Japan like are "mochi," a molded cake made of rice, sugar, cornstarch, and water, sometimes with a sweet red bean filling, and "Pocky," a brand of chocolate-coated biscuit sticks.

That's Berry Funny

What did one rice say to the other rice? 

"I hope I see you a-grain!"

The Yolk's On You

Did you hear the tall tale about rice? 

There wasn’t a grain of truth behind it!

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