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Apr 29, 2012 05:00 AM

Rice cooking issue


Just as a background. I moved from home to the UK at the beginning of the year but before then I was cooking rice for me and my parents ~4 times a week using the "absorption" method. I can make perfect rice pretty much with my eyes closed and I don't need to measure my rice or water. So I don't have any issues with method/measurements.

Now, a few weeks after I started cooking rice when moved to the UK, the first few pots of rice were fine, then I started noticing that when I put the rice in the boiling water, whether I'm cooking peas and rice, yellow rice or regular white rice, the water would thicken and turn white (well, the water for the peas & rice/yellow rice doesn't exactly turn white but the colour of the water gets lighter as if it was mixed with white water). It also has a undesirable taste that comes along with it.

I have no clue what's causing the problem.:
- It doesn't happen to my sister.
- I tried my room mate's pot and one of my smaller pots, same issue.
- I changed everything from the rice (same as what my sister uses), to the butter & oil, the salt, even tried bottled water instead of tap. Same problem.
- I notice that if I wash my rice vigorously it's barely noticeable, although sometimes it still happens.
- I even tried basmati and jasmine rice. Same issue.

I would hate to think that it's because the rice needs washing, because my sister doesn't wash hers as thoroughly as I wash mine and she doesn't have the same issue. I have a gas stove and she has electric burners but I've cooked rice loads of times on gas burners so I'm absolutely clueless.

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  1. The only thing I can think of is that you have weevils in your rice.

    1. What's the mineral content of your water? Disolved minerals in water are often the hidden source for cooking problems like the one you describe. I'm not a huge fan of the bottled water craze, but to experiment, try cooking your rice with a mineral free bottled water and see if it makes a difference.

      3 Replies
      1. re: todao

        Thanks, I'll try. I used Evian once or twice, which describes itself as "Natural Mineral Water", and had the same issue.

        1. re: nano404

          You don't want "mineral water", you want water that's been filtered and free of minerals.
          Also, don't overlook the possibility that you may have a combination of issues (hard water and unwashed rice) contributing to your problem. It's natural to look for a single solution and miss the compound issue possibilities when trying to find solutions to these kinds of things.

          1. re: todao

            Since YummaYum mentioned that rice from UK stores need to be washed I was starting to think that maybe it's a combination. Thanks.

      2. Todao's suggestion sounds plausible. The only other thing I can think of is the rice you are getting in England has more starch on it than the rice you used in the U.S. The extra starch would cloud the water immediately and you said that rinsing seemed to help. That would be indicative of starch.

        1. Take two cups of water and leave them in a clear glass jar in sunlight. If you see a white scum on the glass as the water evaporates, you've got classic hard water. My water comes from a well in a limestone cavern and even my ice cubes have a precipitate.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shallots

            Thanks. I'll try. Although if I finally see sunlight again I might get too excited and forget this little experiment :)

          2. Rice from the shops in the UK needs to be rinsed before you use it. I never had to rinse it in the US unless I bought it from the farmers market or ethnic stores, but I always have to in the UK.

            So does your sister live in the UK? The water type may also affect it, but not sure about that one.

            1 Reply
            1. re: YummaYum

              Thanks for that info. Yes my sister lives here also. I was wondering if there were differences in the rice. I guess that's another thing to add to the list of foods that taste different from back home (Caribbean).