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Reduce starch from rice..

We know rice is a starchy grain.. given that the question is how to reduce that starch!

Few suggestions I've heard -
1. boiling rice with excess water and when rice is cooked, discard the extra water and along with it a lot of starch is removed
2. pre-soaking rice

Does any of these really reduce the starch?
Also, are there other ways to reduce the starch from rice?


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  1. There's probably not a huge difference in the amount of starch removed with either method, but I have converted (no pun intended) to the pasta method of rice-cooking. Instead of the typical simmering for 40 minutes for my brown jasmine rice, it gets 30 minutes at a gentle boil in a large amount of water. Pour the water and rice into/through a large sieve, immediately dump the rice back into the hot pot, cover it, and let it sit off the heat for an additional 10 minutes to absorb the remaining water. This way the grains are always separate with no clumping.

    1. Buy and cook less starchy rice (e.g. long-grain).

      1. If you wash it in cold water, you can see the starchy, cloudy liquid you'll be pouring out as you change the water. Very gently run your hands through the rice to wash it. I usually do 3-4 changes of water, but I buy a very starchy variety.

        1. i usually make basmati. i soak it for at least 1/2 hour then rinse, rinse, rinse til the water drains mostly clear.

          bring the cooking liquid slowly to a boil, simmer for 6-7 minutes. cover, remove from heat. rest about 20-25 minutes. perfect every time.

          1. Why do you want to reduce the starch?

            11 Replies
            1. re: c oliver

              I have sneezing fits from the starch in white rice (and from white bread as well). It's an allergy that developed after the age of 50. It's not Celiac disease. With white flour products, I can usually alleviate the problem by well toasting the bread or roll, BUT pasta and white rice are a problem.

              I have found that I need to fully wash pasta and white rice changing the water at least a half-dozen times to avoid the sneezing fits.

              I use a 12 cup rice cooker. I use 6 cups of rice and fill the metal bowl to the top with fresh cold water, then pour off. The first time the water will be milky white, I do this 5 more times and by the 6th time the water is almost clear.

              Why bother? I love white rice, as do my wife and kids and dogs. I don't care for brown rice. I use cooked white rice in many recipes, and usually have 4 cups cooked in the fridge.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  <I have sneezing fits from the starch in white rice>

                  It must be something else beside the starch. Most of the starch is inside the rice grain. The starch you washed away is minuscule compared to the grain.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I know that you moniker implies that you understand chemistry. This is the pronouncement of my allergist, who did the tests, and lifestyle study-eating, sleeping, activities, etc.

                    Since I have only a JD and he has an MD and post graduate studies in allergy medicine, i accept his pronouncement.

                    All I know is that washing and rinsing the white rice 6 times eliminates my sneezing. I cannot eat white rice in restaurants or other people's homes without the sneezing attacks...they don't rinse/wash as I do.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      i'm not a chemist, nor a jd, or md. :) am wondering if it's simply particulates on the exterior of the rice? from processing and storing? not necessarily the "starch content"?

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        <All I know is that washing and rinsing the white rice 6 times eliminates my sneezing. >

                        I don't question your experience at all. All I am saying is that there are plenty of starch in the rice grain itself. It isn't anything about chemistry, or JD or MD.

                        It is really just common knowledge. Think about it. If washing rice a few times can remove all of its starch, then effectively you can remove all of the calories by washing rice. People can lose a lot of weight by doing that. We know that cannot be true.

                        I don't question your experience. I was merely saying that there is something else. Something on the surface of the rice, but not the starch.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          It might just be that thw 6 times washing/rinsing removes sufficient exterior starch from the white rice to make the interior starch a level that doesn't cause the sneezing.............

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Doesn't white rice have a light coating of cornstarch on it?

                            I wash white rice too, when I make it, and rub it against a colander. I do this several times. I do it to lessen the stickiness after cooking.

                            I've learned to like brown rice.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              <Doesn't white rice have a light coating of cornstarch on it?>

                              Cornstarch? Not that I know. I think that is just starch/powder from rice. Where did you hear/read about cornstarch?

                              <I've learned to like brown rice>

                              I like brown rice a lot too. But a few thing I still insist on white rice. I have only tried and eaten fried rice with white rice.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Sometimes there is a residue of talc (rock) used in the polishing process. No cornstarch.

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  Ah talc. Could that be what triggers the sneezing?

                  2. While those two methods can reduce the starch content somewhat, it is too low to make a real impact. I think your best bet is simple eat less rice and more vegetables. Brown rice is also a great alternative if you are fine with the taste.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      So brown rice has less starch? I'm learning lots here.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Sorry. I didn't mean that. Thanks for the correction. I mean that brown rice releases the starch much slower or rather our bodies digest slower. So depending what the original poster (chow rk) wants to avoid, it may serve his/her purpose.

                    2. There's a product made of konyaku that looks like rice - almost no calories and no starch. It is added to the uncooked rice to supplant it in a ratio of about 1:3. I honestly had a very difficult time discerning the difference. My unknowing family couldn't tell at all. We even tried it 1:1 and still had a hard time telling any difference.

                      Unfortunately, it's currently only sold in Japan as far as I know. Hopefully, it should make its way to the US some time soon.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        That's something to be on the lookout for. Do you know what it is called?

                        1. re: greygarious

                          I did some searching and found this website. It took a little while to load. If you scroll down past the initial photo cluster, you'll see a photo of some premeasured packets - that's how the product I tried appeared. The actual product itself looks roughly the shape of rice - kind of like over-polished rice. Unfortunately, I didn't see any photos of the bag in which the packets came. Besides, it was all in Japanese:


                          While searching, this product came up several times. It appears "ready to use." I can't vouch for this stuff, as it appears to be in some watery liquid. The noodle-equivalent has a somewhat weird odor (to me) and I don't care for it much.


                          1. re: bulavinaka

                            konnyaku is one of those low calorie soluble fibers. But it does not sound like the OP is worried about the calories in rice, but rather some sort of alergin.

                            1. re: paulj

                              Ok, less rice, less alergin? No washing this product.

                      2. In this GIF
                        the endospem, which is the largest part of the grain, is mostly made of starch. 80% of a white long grain rice is carbohydrates (= starch).

                        It sounds as though loose surface starch is the problem, not to bulk of starch in the grain. You could take some clues from various ways in which rice is cooked, and the chosen varieties.

                        In a risotto a short grain rice is cooked in a way to maximize the release of starch, which forms the base of a creamy sauce. Paella uses a similar rice, but does not stir, so less starch is released. But for many Indian and Latin American dishes, fluffy separate grains of rice is the ideal. They use long grain rice (basmatti is the longest), and fry it in oil before adding liquid to coat the grains. India also parboiled rice long before Uncle Ben. Indian cooks also sometimes cook rice like pasta, in a lots of water, which is then drained, and the rice is finished by steaming.

                        Parboiling is cooking the rice before the bran is removed. This drives some nutrients into the endosperm. The polished grains remain separate when cooked.

                        Whole (brown), or partially polished rice, also tends to remain separate, since the bran inhibits the release of starch.

                        Washing until the water is clear also removes that loose surface starch. I used to read that washing also removes talc that was used in polishing the rice, but that explanation is less common now.

                        an earlier thread on rinsing rice (or not).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: paulj

                          Nice animation and good explanation. Thanks, Paul.

                        2. Sneezing is usually a reaction to airborne particulates, which raises the question of what brings on your sneezing; smelling or eating? Others have already mentioned rinsing the rice until the water runs clear. I do this when making rice for sushi, but I don't let the rice just sit in the bottom of the bowl, but I keep stirring it with my hand until the water runs clear for pretty close to a full minute.

                          In addition to that, you might also try cooking the rice with some fat added to the water. Theoretically at least, this should help keep any matter from floating off the rice and attacking your sneeze reflex. Probably worth a try. But the best solution may well turn out to be avoidance. There are lots of alternatives to rice. My favorites are bulgur and orzo.

                          Good luck!

                          1. If you are looking to reduce the starch because you don't like rice that is all sticky and clumped together, there are some other cooking methods which will help reduce this a lot - but not necessarily remove any starch in the process.

                            Basically, just cooking it in an indirect heat with no stirring at all seems to keep the rice from getting all gluey. An electric steamer is great for this, but you can also just bake the rice in your oven in a tightly covered baking dish.