With so many different rice varieties and brands, it’s never easy to guess which type is suitable for which dish. As one of the most famous locally sourced brands, Botan rice is a frequent guest in American homes. But is Botan rice good for sushi?
Yes, Botan rice is good for any type of sushi. It is a brand of Calrose rice, which is grown in California and is known as the best alternative to Japanese sushi rice. With similar texture and flavor to Japanese-styled grains, it’s the most popular rice used for preparing sushi in the US, both professionally and at home.
If you want to find out more about this brand and the Calrose type of rice, in general, this article will provide you with all the answers.
Botan is a brand of Calrose rice grown in California. Although medium-grained, it has similar qualities to Japanese short-grain rice typically used in Japanese cuisine for making sushi. California’s mild climate creates ideal conditions for this grain type.
Bolton Calrose rice holds high quality – it is not an organic product, but it is non-GMO verified, with each grain carefully selected. With new milling technology, this rice has become a musenmai (no-wash rice). These grains don’t need to be rinsed as others since the starch coating grains are pre-removed.
Calrose rice is high in amylopectin, so it becomes slightly sticky when cooked, making the perfect texture for sushi. In order for it to be prepared successfully, the rice must not be dry or firm but smooth and sticky. Once molded, sticky rice will hold its shape much longer than a dry one.
Calrose and Japanese rice differ when it comes to the land of origin (California vs. Japan) and grain size (medium-grain vs. short grain). However, the amount of amylopectin makes a significant difference between these two varieties.
Japanese rice, such as koshihikari, sasanishiki, and hatsushimo, has even higher amylopectin levels. They stick together even better than Calrose rice grains and are easier to mold. As for the taste, it’s pretty similar and mild – excellent to combine with fish, seaweed, and other ingredients.
Keep in mind that the Calrose rice variety is used in many restaurants and sushi bars in the States – and there is a good reason for it. True Japanese short-grained rice can be hard to find and is a less affordable option. That is why many restaurants, as well as home chefs, turn to Calrose rice – the best Japanese rice alternative.
Whether you want to make nigiri, maki, inari, or any other type of sushi, note that Botan Calrose will make it look perfect and taste amazing.
Although Botan Calrose rice can be classified as white, make sure you don’t mix it with other white rice types, like glutenous, basmati, or jasmine.
Sticky or glutinous rice is short-grain and extremely high in amylopectin, similar to Japanese sushi rice. However, it has a lot sweeter taste, making it the perfect choice if you want to make a Japanese dessert – but not so much for sushi.
On the other hand, basmati rice and jasmine are long-grained and have low amounts of amylopectin and high amounts of another starch component, amylose. Because of that, they are drier and firm, precisely the way they are supposed to be for Thai and Indian cuisine, from which they are from.
Keep in mind that the Botan brand also has brown Calrose rice on offer, which, in theory, you can use for making sushi. However, it doesn’t have the same texture or taste as white Calrose grains. If you want to make sushi as close to a traditional Japanese dish, it is always better to stick to the white type.
Botan rice can be cooked both on the stove and in a rice cooker. Make sure to follow manufacturer instructions if you use a rice cooker. If you choose the other option, try to follow the next steps:
- Mix water and rice in a 2:1-1.2 ratio,
- Heat until the water boils,
- Reduce the heat and let grains simmer for around 20 minutes (or until all the water is absorbed),
- Remove and let it cool down.
Hinode, grown in Central Valley, and Botan, grown in Sacramento, are the most popular brands in the States. At the same time, they are the easiest to find and the least affordable options. However, both hold excellent quality Calrose rice – with Botan having a slight advantage.
Take a look at the table below to compare the prices of different Calrose brands:
|Calrose Brand||Walmart Price (per 5lbs)||Target price (per 5 lbs)|
You Won’t Make a Mistake by Choosing Botan Calrose for Your Next Sushi Meal
Calrose rice is not only a good alternative to Japanese sushi rice but probably the best rice for sushi grown in the Western world. Its soft, sticky texture and mild flavor make this type of rice very similar to varieties used in traditional Japanese cuisine. Therefore, if you wish to use Calrose next time you decide to make this Japanese delicacy, go ahead – just ensure you choose the Botan brand.