Sushi Rice and Kids

Bento-ing from: Greenwich › Connecticut › USA
Joined: 26 Apr 2010
User offline. Last seen 8 years 22 weeks ago.

I am going to apologize in advance for my truly novice questions. I have looked at some of your blogs and I am officially intimidated. I am just starting and have a lot to learn. My question is that I see so many bentos using molded rice as one of the main ingredients.

My questions are:

What is your sushi rice recipe (I've always made it adding just a little rice wine vinegar)?

Are you using sushi rice for kids' bentos? And if so, what age, are they eating it, and how do you deal with heating it up (or do you) when other parts of the bento should remain cold?

And what is your favorite mold?

Thanks in advance!


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Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 11 weeks ago.
Re: Sushi Rice and Kids

Hi AVM, and welcome!

I'm not sure how to answer your question as I only usually shape rice for onigiri (also called omusubi). These are ball/triangle/bear/kitty shaped mounds of rice and perfect for Bento. These do not get heated.
Although the rice for onigiri can be seasoned with salt and sesame seeds or other kinds of furikake and covered (or not) with sheets of nori seaweed, I've never added sushi vinegar to this kind of rice (sushi rice, that is rice seasoed with sushi vinegar/awase zu is never heated for consumption).

As for foods which I would prepare with actual sushi rice, there's not that many. The only 'sushi' that I make regularly, for home or picnics, sometimes as a DIY bento (where I take it in kit form and assemble everything just as I'm about to eat it) is the hand rolled sushi called 'temakizushi' - info here: You don't need a mold for temaki zushi as you only need to 'smear' rice onto the seaweed sheet. The rice can even be room temperature for this.
I used to make my own sushi vinegar where I'd heat vinegar (cider vinegar if I couldn't find rice vinegar) and add sugar and salt then sit the hot pan on cold water to stop the vinegar from evaporating - Maki's recipe for sushi vinegar/awase zu here:
But I can easily get ready made awase zu now so I never make it anymore (I'm using the Yamato brand at the moment I'm not a heavy user so it lasts long enough, it would be too expensive for everyday use)

With regards to children - I have a 7 month old who's been eating for just over a month and I usually let her try whatever I'm eating. She loves plain onigiri rice as well as seasoned sushi rice and nori.
I am careful not to let her eat too much at once as white rice will constipate you and children can be particularly susceptible to this problem. If eating white rice it's very important that children get plenty of fibre, but also B vitamins as well (nori helps with some of the minerals white rice lacks). If your little girl likes rice but won't eat vegetables and other foods you might want to see how she feels about some of the other rice options, such as brown rice or haiga rice or sprouted rice - more info here:
Haiga rice is perhaps the closest tasting to milled white rice.

I personally don't use molds for rice, but because of a current problem with my right wrist I do occasionally use a trick I picked up here:
When my hand is too sore to press together an onigiri I put a hot portion into a glass jam jar (Bon Maman ), sprinkle it with salt and shake it as hard as I can with my left hand. The onigiri comes out as a perfect sphere. With practice, you can even get a filling into the onigiri, as long as it is small.

Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 17 weeks ago.
Re: Sushi Rice and Kids

Good to know that you can shape onigiri with one hand in a bottle like that, I had completely forgot about that technique. I have also been having some problems with my right arm so I have been doing very minimal cooking for two months now (my husband even chops all my vegetables for me), so talking about things like onigiri that require prep work makes my mouth water.

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 10 weeks 3 days ago.
Re: Sushi Rice and Kids

Here are my basic instructions for prepping/cooking white rice and making sushi rice (originally posted way back in 2003!) The formula for sushi vinegar is in the last paragraph. The rice itself should ideally be cooked with dashi stock, but alternatively you can use a bit of dashi stock granules, or put a piece of kinbu seaweed on top when cooking the rice - or just leave it plain too. In Japan, kids love sushi - I guess it's the salt and sugar in the rice.


The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Bento-ing from: Greenwich › Connecticut › USA
Joined: 26 Apr 2010
User offline. Last seen 8 years 22 weeks ago.
Re: Sushi Rice and Kids

Thank you so much - the both of you. Very informative and eye-opening. And now I want a rice cooker (probably the only kitchen appliance I don't have). I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks again!

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