What does washing rice do?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “what does washing rice do” with an in-depth analysis of what is the reason lying behind washing rice before cooking. Moreover, we are going to discuss the potential risks associated with unwashed rice and the benefit of soaking the rice before cooking. 

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

What does washing rice do?

So when it comes to washing rice, different rice variants behave differently towards it.

Long-grain and medium-grain rice

It is always recommended to wash or rinse the long-grain and medium-grain rice before cooking them. By washing these variants of rice, you not only get rid of any chemical residues present on the surface of the rice but the rinsing of rice also helps to remove the surface starch present on the rice. If this surface starch is not washed off, it can make the cooked rice sticky, gummy, or mushy. Thus by rinsing the rice before cooking, you will get the fluffy rice that won’t clump together after cooking.

Basmati or jasmine rice

You should rinse your basmati and jasmine rice to get rid of any chemical residue that was left on the surface of the basmati rice or the jasmine rice during the milling process. So you can wash the rice under running water for some time to get rid of these chemical residues and the surface starch.

Short-grain or sticky rice

In the case of the short-grain rice, sticky rice, or sushi rice that surface starch is necessary to provide that mushy texture so that these rice can bind well. Moreover in case if you are making dishes like risotto, the surface starch layer adds to the creaminess of the dish, so in these cases, you do not necessarily have to rinse the rice but if you want to, you can go ahead.

You can read about how to make rice pudding here.

Flavored or enriched rice

The enriched or flavored rice are prewashed before packaging, so it is totally up to you if you still want to wash them.

What are the risks associated with unwashed rice?

  1. Sometimes there can be chemical residues present on the surface of the rice (especially the basmati or other imported rice) and if you do not wash the rice, these chemicals will find their way to your digestive system when you eat such rice.
  2. The surface starch can make the cooked rice gummy.
  3. The unwashed rice has a certain smell and if you do not wash the rice, this smell would still linger even in your cooked rice.

What is the meaning of rinsing rice?

So rinsing rice means that the rice is washed with water to such an extent that the water runs clear. When you rinse the rice, you will notice that at first the stream of water passing through the rice will have a milky and cloudy appearance, and gradually with continuous washing, there comes a time when that cloudy water stream changes to more of a clear one and that’s when you are done with rinsing rice.

Rinsing rice refers to thorough washing in which you have to wash the rice until the stream of water passing through the rice becomes clear (in case you are rinsing the rice in a strainer under running tap water).

How to wash rice?

There are two ways to wash the rice thoroughly and you can choose any of them depending upon your ease and preference.

You can either place your uncooked rice in a strainer and wash them under the running tap water for some time (until the stream of water passing through the rice becomes clear) or what you can do is to take a bowl of cold water, add your uncooked rice in it and gently swirl them around with your hand for some time. Afterward, strain the water out of the rice and cook the rice in your desired way. 

What does soaking rice in water do?

When you give some time to the rice to soak into the water. The rice absorbs some of the water and when you cook this pre-soaked rice, you will get more even-textured, fluffy rice. Moreover, the rice will be perfectly cooked from inside out and you don’t have to worry about the rice becoming dry on top. Apart from this, pre-soaking the rice also decreases the cooking time and preserves the signature aromas of some variants of rice like almond rice or basmati rice. 

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “what does washing rice do” with an in-depth analysis of what is the reason lying behind washing rice before cooking. Moreover, we discussed the potential risks associated with unwashed rice and the benefit of soaking the rice before cooking. 

Citations

https://www.thechoppingblock.com/blog/is-rinsing-rice-really-required

https://www.mashed.com/189311/reasons-you-should-wash-your-rice-and-reasons-you-shouldnt/

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/rinse-your-rice

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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