Why should you always wash rice before cooking it?

Whatever variety you choose – basmati, Thai, wholemeal – rice is available and easy to cook… as long as you know how to prepare it. Even before cooking, it is advisable to wash the rice several times for better taste quality.
If some people swear by rinsing the rice, it is mainly because it prevents it from sticking. Indeed, rice contains starch, and washing it reduces the excess on the surface, which prevents the rice grains from sticking together. This will therefore make the rice lighter and more airy after cooking.
Furthermore, rice, as a natural ingredient, may contain impurities, dust or plastic residue, depending on its origin. Washing therefore helps get rid of these impurities and makes the rice cleaner and safe to consume. According to a 2019 study, rinsing reduces the amount of plastic in uncooked rice by up to 20%.

Please note, although this step is necessary for a certain number of preparations, some recipes escape the rule. In risotto or paella for example, we look for a creamy and slightly sticky texture. By rinsing your rice, you will remove some of the starch necessary for the successful preparation of these recipes.

Rinse your rice well

Rinsing is therefore a step that should not be neglected in the preparation of your rice. For this, you don’t need anything other than cold water. Start by measuring the amount of rice needed for your recipe. Then place the rice in a large container such as a bowl or fine sieve. Rinse the rice in cold water, stirring it gently with your hands. You will find that the water becomes cloudy as the starch and impurities are removed. Drain the cloudy water and repeat this rinsing process until the water becomes clearer, which may take 2 to 3 washes or more depending on the quality of the rice. Once the water is relatively clear, drain the rice well using a fine-mesh strainer or tilting the container to allow the water to drain.

Cook your rice

Once rinsed, it’s time to cook. Very important, use a proper water to rice ratio. In general, for white rice, you need about 1.5 to 2 times more water than rice. For brown or basmati rice, you may need slightly more water. Same attention to cooking time. Make sure not to overcook the rice. It should be tender, but slightly firm and each grain should be distinct. Once cooked, use a fork to gently loosen the grains. This will make it lighter and less compact.

By getting into the habit of washing your raw rice and following these few cooking rules, you should obtain perfectly cooked, tasty and non-sticky rice every time you prepare it.

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