Sushi 101: The Virgin Gets Burned by Sticky Rice

Most American restaurant foods are easy to replicate at home: grilled cheese, burgers, the classic BLT. Japanese and hybrid-Asian foods are another matter. It might seem simple to toss together some rice, crab, seaweed and avocado to make a basic California roll, but ask any sushi chef and they'll tell you there's an art to it.

Much of the success of a roll depends on the sushi rice. You can't use any plain old supermarket rice; look for high-quality short grain rice at a local Asian market such as Lee Lee or House of Rice. Avoid using Cooking Virgin's former staple, Minute Rice, or you'll end up with a sticky, glutinous mess that looks and tastes like lumpy kindergarten paste.

Trust us; you don't want to eat that.

Read on to find out how to (and how NOT to) make perfect sushi rice at home...