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rinsing rice

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
for some reason, i feel stupid asking this question... why do we... or why are we taught to rinse rice?

i made some rice the other day and i never rinse my rice and when it was done cooking, it was like mush. i was either thinking that it was over cooked, to much liquid, or maybe it was becasue i didnt rinse my rice.

we were taught in school that we rinse our rice to remove excess starch... i wounder if that excess starch played a roll in my rice turning to mush.

what so ya all think?
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post #2 of 26
Excess starch is definitely a factor; think of why we DON'T rinse arborio rice. Same reason.

The other thing is the dirt factor. My dad grew up in a country where rice was the #1 staple. Having seen how rice is packaged, he never cared about starch content, but about cleanliness.

I would like to take your question a bit further however. Many Indians swear that basmati should be soaked anywhere from one hour to overnight. I do understand the logic in doing that, however when I do this to my aged basmati, the texture is not as good. Any thoughts about this?
post #3 of 26

Why WE do it

I can only tell you why we wash rice in Barbados.

1. So it isn't so starchy.

2. We don't get the good rice like Americans do. We have to pick through ours to remove a whole bunch of foreign objects (stones, twigs, etc.) that could end up in the cooked rice.

3. My grandma only says that she likes her rice to be "clean" :rolleyes:

But the main thing I believe is to remove most of the starch so the rice won't be mushy.

Jodi
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post #4 of 26
A lot of Japanese rice is packaged with cornstarch, so rinsing removes that. My Aikido instructor's wife always had me rinse the rice till the water ran clear and then some!! SHe also taught me to measure the water by placing the rice in the pot and adding water to the first knuckle of my big finger, the one closest to the fingertip. When I do this, instead of using the usual ratio of rice to water, I have more success.

For the basmatic rice, I think it's such a tender rice that soaking it allows for a shorter cooking time with less water used, so the rice doesn't break down as much. Older rice doesn't absorb as much water, I think, because it gets 'harder' as it ages.

I also find that if I 'bake' my rice in the oven instead of stovetop, it turns out with a fluffier consistency. Don't know what I do stovetop, it seems that no matter how low i have the heat, even using a 'flame tamer', I still get mushy rice. My rice cooker makes great rice, but I don't like to use it for heavily seasoned rice.
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post #5 of 26
To keep rice from sticking to itself, it is best to rinse it as this helps rid of surface starch. My guess with mushy rice (as opposed to sticky) is that you used too much water and ended up overcooking it. I use the same knuckle method as marmalady and it seems to work great for me. Also try to keep from stirring it too much as this will also help to develop the starch (again think arborio-aka risotto). I stir my rice once, right after I add the water, then I try not to stir again until it is done and I need to fluff it. Also do not let your rice boil rapidly. I bring my rice up to a slow boil, turn it down to a low simmer and cover it. When 75-80% of the water is absorbed I shut my heat off and allow the residual heat to finish "steaming" the rice. This way I end up with nice nonsticky, nonmushy rice.
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post #6 of 26
Anneke,

For the High Grade Basmati, I rinse it first and soak for 30 minutes tops! Makes perfect every time.

I also found that the best proportion liquid/rice is 1 1/3 cups water per cup of rice (for cooking that is).

:p
K

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K

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post #7 of 26
Packaged rice in the US generally doesn't need rinsing. It's well processed and cleaned.

If you are using organic or other less processed rice, rinsing is often beneficial.

Phil
post #8 of 26
This is an interesting point that never occur to me....I always rinse the rice 3 or 4 times before cooking the rice. My mom taught me to rinse the rice until the water isn't white anymore. Which is what marmalady said in previous post. I only use Japanese rice so I can't say much about other rice. I also use a rice cooker, which is a great gadget to have :p To meaure the rice with water, my formula is 1 cup of rice = 1 1/2 cup of water.
post #9 of 26
For Basmati rice yes, and even that can vary between harvests. I don't care either way if we get high quality rice. To me cooking rice is like a sport. You rinse some you lose some :D

Kuan
post #10 of 26

Um, Kuan ...

Hasn't your brain thawed out yet?;) :D In truth, you're my kinda guy, like a good piecrust: tender and flaky.
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post #11 of 26
Dear dear Suzanne,

:lol:

Kuan too!
K

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«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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post #12 of 26
My Chinese mother-in-law always rinses the rice as does my wife. I don't. Rice has precious little nutritional value and what there is, is on the surface which gets washed off when you rinse.
I was given to understand that in the bad old days, what the Chinese peasants used for fertilizer wasn't very nice and that is why they would rinse it. Good ol' Texas long grain is produced under more sanitary conditions so rinsing (for that reason) isn't necessary. Although somebody in an earlier post suggested that's not necessarily so either.
Asian cultures usually want their rice to be starchy so it can be picked up in clumps with chop sticks. Try doing that with loose fluffy grains!
One last thought then I'll shut up - different rice varieties have different water absorbsion capacities. For your average long grain rice, the knuckle measure works really well. But even that can vary with bigger or smaller hands. You have to try it once or twice to see what works.
Gee whiz, you could just about write a thesis on this! :)

Jock
post #13 of 26
Hi, Jocko - Re the 'knuckle measure' - in theory you're right, people of different sizes obviously have different length fingers. One year at our martial arts camp, where we had 60-70 people of varying sizes and shapes, we had a different person measure the water for the rice using the 'knuckle measure'; no matter who it was, or how big they were, the measure always came out correctly, and our rice was perfect! Go figure - another mystery of the universe.
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post #14 of 26
Yeah, you're right. Both my wife and mother-in-law have really small hands compared to mine yet the rice still works out. 'Course, I use my pinkie knuckle but that's still bigger than their index finger. And long fingernails don't count :)

Jock
post #15 of 26

I wish to add...

Certain rices, such as basmati and Thai fragrant, benefit from washing. This rinses off loose starch and helps stop the cooked rice sticking. Long-grain and brown rices don’t need rinsing, and you should never rinse pudding or risotto rices.

Basmati should be soaked for 20-30 minutes before cooking so the grains absorb water. This allows heat to penetrate easily, and makes them cook evenly. Look out for aged or ‘vintage’ basmati, highly valued in India.

Source: nikki smith (waitrose)

Tips from hubby:
Basmati and Thai rices should be washed when dirty, with a bio-degradable detergent and twice on weekends and holidays.

Risottos are another story, and should not be washed on statutory holidays, leap years, and your personal birthday.

Uncle Ben type rices should not be washed but rather dry-cleaned.

All this does not apply except to the Northern hemisphere. For all three other hemispheres, the opposite applies.

:D
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

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«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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post #16 of 26
LOL!!!! I guess that leaves only one question. Is that hand-washed or machine-washed?:D
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post #17 of 26
Pete,

If you're in a hurry, a quick hand-wash is best. Otherwise, machine wash is fine, on delicate cycle ;)
K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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K

«Money talks. Chocolate sings. Beautifully.»
«Just Give Me Chocolate and Nobody Gets Hurt.»
«Coffee, Chocolate, Men ... Some things are just better rich.»
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post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
i know that washing rices that need to be glutenious (sp?) like for risotto or sushi or asian rice...

i think that i have come to the conclusion that other rices need to be rinced.

i suppose since we ALL wash our veggies... it would be a good idea to wash rice too!
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post #19 of 26
Fifty years ago, both long and short grain rices, those commonly produced in the U.S. would routinely have small stones and other contaiminents that could be "washed" out. Also, talc was used in the polishing process and this needed to be washed out. Today, neither is a problem. Talc has been outlawed because of its link to stomach cancer andstones are rare. The brand of rice I prefer, Nishiki (California short grain), even states on the package: "Do not wash".
post #20 of 26
Hrrm...I've always been taught by asian cooks to wash the rice, even sushi rice. There are even special machines for washing/cleaning rice.

By the way, you'll still find stones in rice from time to time, especially when you are buying in restaurant quantities. We used to go through about 150 pounds of rice a day and I would find a stone or other type of contaminant (a twig or some such) every two or three weeks.

Since we are on the topic of rice, a good tip if you want a good asian style rice that isn't incredibly hard to work with (i.e. very clumpy) is to make a 3 to 1 mixture of short grain to long grain rice.

Matt
post #21 of 26
washing sushi rice is supposed to enhance the flavor of the rice. I notice that my rice has a sweeter flavor when I wash it....not that starchy kind of taste. More subtle.
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post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
i worked with a chef that lived in asia for a long time and he used to get so mad at us when we cooked the sushi rice diffrently. he used a 1 part rice to 1.1 part of water. then as the rice was cooking, we would take one part rice wine vinegar, 1 part sugar and 1/2 part salt and bring to a boil. it always turned out great!

hope this helps
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post #23 of 26
<<i worked with a chef that lived in asia for a long time and he used to get so mad at us when we cooked the sushi rice diffrently. he used a 1 part rice to 1.1 part of water. then as the rice was cooking, we would take one part rice wine vinegar, 1 part sugar and 1/2 part salt and bring to a boil. it always turned out great!>>

So he added the vinegar and sugar while it was cooking? Interesting, I don't think I've ever seen that done. Usually it's added after the rice is cooked but still warm...I'll have to try it the next time I make some sushi.

Matt
post #24 of 26

ALERT!!!!

No, Mathew, don't do that! I'm sure Isaac was meaning to say that the vinegar/sugar/salt gets cut into the rice AFTER it cooks!!!!!!

My sushi 'su' (sauce), learned from my Aikido sensei, was equal parts Japanese rice vinegar (don't use Chinese - it's too strong) and sugar, and a stick of kombu seaweed, and sometimes a little sake. This was simmered for about a half hour, and then allowed to cool.

The hot cooked rice is placed in a wooden bowl (wood is traditionally used because it absorbs any extra moisture), and salt is cut in to the rice first, to taste. Then, while fanning the rice (in Japan, this is one of the first jobs an apprentice sushi chef does), the 'su' is poured over the rice a little at a time, while using a flat rice paddle to cut it into the mixture. As the rice cools, the mixture should be just firm enough to hold together, as in when you're making nigiri sushi. Rice for maki rolls or 'charazi' sushi (scattered sushi, or 'lazy man's sushi'), can be a little looser in consistency.
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post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
yes yes yes... sorry for the confusion

cook the rice, put in bowl. while still hot pour the rice vinagar mixture over it to taste. sorry about that!

i never have fanned my rice... didnt think it needed it since it is for sushi
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post #26 of 26
Isaac, Fanning the rice to cool helps somehow (ancient Japanese secret!), to help the rice absorb the 'su'. I knew you knew not to cook the rice with the 'su', I just wanted to make sure everyone else did!;)
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