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Sep 3, 2007 07:32 PM

Rinse the rice?

Several cook books I own say that rinsing rice (brown or white) reduces stickiness. The Mahatma rice bag and other cook books say NEVER rinse. Is there a consensus of opinion here?

Also, what is sauteeing the rice supposed to do for the final dish?



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  1. I rinse the rice sometimes, some say it takes out the minerals and some feel it's better to clean it. Honestly for me it depends on the type of rice I am cooking. If I am using uncle Bens from the box, I do not rinse it. For some reason I feel the need to wash bagged rice?? when you saute the rice I believe it is to make it less sticky.

    1. Every Chinese cook I am related to rinses her rice every time. I'm not sure about stickiness, but I do know that when you store fairly large quantities of rice (I store mine in a several-gallon plastic wastebasket with lid - I buy at least 10 lb at a time), it can get dusty or even buggy. Rinsing helps rid your rice of those potential contaminants.

      I believe some of the new thinking is that rinsing takes the "fortified" vitamins off the rice. I don't buy fortified rices, but I'm pretty sure the vitamins are simply sprayed onto the rice during processing, so it makes sense not to rinse them back off (after all, you pay extra for that processing).

      I think sauteeing adds flavor and a little color to your finished dish.

      1. Agree with kd. Asian cooks always rinse their rice to get rid of the excess starch on the outside of the rice. Also, rice processing sometimes allows twiggy bits or little stones which would be iimportant to remove.

        I'm aware rice is sometimes fortified but does that only apply to North American grown rice? Brand name (eg. Uncle Ben's) type rice? I've only bought rice in large qty bags imported from asia and I've never seen a label or mention of vitamins added.

        1. My experience is that recipes where the desired final product is separate, individual grains of rice instead of a clumpy mass (a rice salad, for example, or the Mexican rice recipe from Cooks Illustrated) tell you to rinse the rice before cooking to reduce the starch. It does make a difference, I find.

          And sauteeing the rice both browns it (because Maillard reactions are yummy) and further increases the separateness of the grains.

          1. We always rinse both basmati and jasmine rice because after the milling process the rice may be "polished" with glucose or talc powder. In fact Madhur Jaffrey recommends soaking the rice for 1/2 hour before using it.

            Rice is usually not sauteed as such but after the oil is heated, and the shallots and garlic are golden the rice is added and becomes coated with the oil and other flavors.