Do you really need to rinse rice before cooking?

Whether you are a fan of Uncle Roger or not, there is no denying that for some people, washing rice is necessary while others view it as heresy. You might ask ‘What does the science say?’ and if that is your response, look no further than Nik Sharma’s latest article appearing over at Food52, where he tackles this question head-on.

Sharma begins with a ‘Starch 101’ lesson that made me realize how little I understand about rice. He compares the properties of different types of rice, including sticky rice, arborio, and long-grain varieties such as basmati and jasmine. After explaining the differences in starch molecules between the types of rice, Sharma turns to the conditions that rice is subjected to during transportation which result in a layer of starch dust that coats the grains. This is why he always washes rice before cooking, regardless of what dish he is preparing. In addition to this reason, Sharma rinses his rice to reduce the amount of heavy metals that can accumulate in it.

After explaining why he thinks everyone should rinse rice, he pivots to an explanation of why soaking rice prior to cooking can be beneficial and provides yet another concise and clear analysis of the science behind his decision. At the end, Sharma provides a short guide to follow to produce the best rice you’ve ever made. Since I have struggled to get consistent results when cooking rice, I will keep this information handy for the next time I make it.

Photo of How to cook rice perfectly, every time from Food52

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  • Gneissspice  on  January 3, 2021

    I made saffron almond date rice from More Plenty last night. I believe it’s an Iranian rice recipe and we rinsed, then soaked the rice, then steamed it! I think it was the best rice I have ever made.

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