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Why it is better to rinse rice before cooking it



There are different ways of preparing rice (boiled, risotto, in broth, baked…) and there is always a heated debate on the advisability of rinse the rice before cooking it. It is a staple food around the world, and is eaten by people in more than 100 countries. There are so many varieties: it is estimated that there are at least 40,000 worldwide. A nutritional theory would be that the grains should be rinsed before cooking. Not in all cases, however: some types of rice, especially for the preparation of risotto, should never be washed.

Rinsing rice before cooking: advantages

  • Remove debris and dirt
  • Eliminates heavy metals and pollutants
  • Improves taste
  • Reduces the presence of starch

Types of rice to rinse

  • Basmati
  • Thai
  • Black rice
  • Red rice
  • Sushi rice

Types of rice not to rinse

  • Carnaroli
  • Arborio
  • Roma
  • Vialone nano

Why rinse rice before cooking it

One of the advantages of rinsing the rice under cold water, and then draining it, before cooking, is that eliminate any contaminating substances and heavy metals. The main reason some nutritionists and doctors urge rinsing rice is because it may be particularly loaded with arsenic, lead and cadmium, which pose serious health risks to humans.

Contaminants enter rice plants from polluted groundwater that floods rice fields, so the main benefit of rinsing rice is reducing the risk of heavy metal toxicity. The likelihood of experiencing heavy metal toxicity from consuming rice is objectively quite low. However, if there was even a minimal amount of toxicity in the beans, it would be dangerous to the health of young children.

Which rice should be washed?

It is customary to wash rice before cooking it for the preparation of oriental recipes. Then they went to the rice wash: basmati, jasmine rice, thai rice, red and black rice. Do not wash rice suitable for risotto, such as Carnaroli, Roma and Arborio.

Removes dirt and debris

Washing dirt and debris off your beans is a good healthy practice. Likewise, when you buy a lettuce plant at the supermarket, don't eat it without giving it a quick rinse. For the same reasons, it would be best to rinse the rice as well. In fact, it could be covered with dirt, insects and other impurities. Rinsing rice removes substances that you certainly don't like on your plate such as: dirt, dust, debris, chemicals and insects. Cereals, in this sense, are particularly subject to contamination by rice weevils (also known as grain beetles).

They are small insects that can infest food and make it go bad more quickly. If insects are found in rice, there is a good chance that the infestation can or has spread to the rest of the grains. There is a significant possibility that the rice could collect dust or be contaminated by small insects, so the advice is always to wash it before cooking. It should be remembered that insects are not toxic to humans, but parasites can easily spread to other foods and contaminate them.

When to wash rice

Rice must be washed when preparing, for example, sushi, basmati or pilaf rice for oriental recipes, cold salads, timbales or stir-fried rice. It doesn't wash May when cooking the risotto as it would lose too much starch to obtain a result creamy and tasty. In the latter case, the grains must not be separated but well mixed.

Better taste

It can improve the taste and texture of rice if run under water before finishing in the pot. Rice is a rich source of starch, which can lead to dense, chewy textures when cooked. To avoid this, it is recommended to rinse the rice for the best taste and texture. The starch in rice causes the grains to become sticky upon rinsing the texture is softer and the flavor better.


There are, however, potential disadvantages of rinsing rice:

  • Yes they can sacrifice some nutrients: When you rinse out the heavy metals in rice, you may also remove some of the beneficial nutrients. Rinsing rice washes away some of the iron, folate, thiamine and niacin, but also B vitamins including folic acid, which are water-soluble.
  • It can lead to a pasty consistency: Rubbery rice is not always pleasant to the palate. If you are making risotto, arborio rice, congee, porridge or rice pudding where the rice should be creamy, washing and rinsing the rice or wheat can make it mushy.

How to wash rice

To rinse the rice, simply place it in a bowl of cold water that covers it entirely, and move the grains with your hands. Drain the rice through a fine-mesh sieve and continue washing it under running water until it is clear.

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