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General questions about cooking rice


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I hadn't thought about using leftover rice to make okayu; I'll have to try that.

I'd like to readdress the issue of washing rice. I am a strong proponent of it, because I think it makes a big difference, and Shizuo Tsuji (my guide to japanese cooking) certainly makes a strong case for it, but that was also almost 30 years ago. Recently someone disagreed with me and said that washing rice is outdated, and is a reflection of the inferior milling and polishing technology of the past.

What is the general feeling in Japan these days? Is washing rice still considered essential? Is there a difference between home and professional?

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I hadn't thought about using leftover rice to make okayu; I'll have to try that.

I'd like to readdress the issue of washing rice. I am a strong proponent of it, because I think it makes a big difference, and Shizuo Tsuji (my guide to japanese cooking) certainly makes a strong case for it, but that was also almost 30 years ago. Recently someone disagreed with me and said that washing rice is outdated, and is a reflection of the inferior milling and polishing technology of the past.

What is the general feeling in Japan these days? Is washing rice still considered essential? Is there a difference between home and professional?

In Japan, rice is always washed before being cooked unless it is "no-wash rice". Some people wash rice thoroughly until the water is almost clear, while others wash it three to five times only (the water is still cloudy).

Here is a post about washing rice in my blog.

Edited by Hiroyuki (log)
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I was my rice until the water runs almost clear (put it in a sieve over a bowl and the lost water is used on the garden). I then rub handfuls of rice for a few minutes to polish a little bit and rinse again. It gives a nice shine to the rice when it's finally cooked. It also feels nice :raz:

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Recently someone disagreed with me and said that washing rice is outdated, and is a reflection of the inferior milling and polishing technology of the past.

What is the general feeling in Japan these days? Is washing rice still considered essential? Is there a difference between home and professional?

It is most certainly *not* outdated, but also true that there are non-washing (musenmai) rices available. I tried one bag, years ago, and both my wife and I thought it was awful compared to regular rice.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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  • 4 weeks later...
Just see rice cookers coming up a lot, any recommendations for what brand is best as far as how long it will last and the quality of the machine & value?

Thanks

See this link for a discussion of what to look for in a rice cooker and this one for a more recent coverage.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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  • 3 months later...

Can we discuss washing rice a little more?

1. Why does everyone in Japan rinse rice, assuming they do?

2. Why do American rice packages rarely if ever specify rinsing?

3. How much water does rice absorb and/or carry with it when you rinse it, and how does this affect the quantity of water you need to add to the pot?

Also, a separate issue:

4. Why do the instructions Kris linked to above specify using less water, ratio-wise, as the amount of rice being cooked increases? What's the science behind that?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FWIW, I think that a lot of folks rinse rice, not just those of Japanese descent. I've gotten the lecture from Chinese, Puerto Rican, Indian, and Thai cooks -- but always for jasmine, basmati, etc. and not for sticky rice. I always thought that there was excess starch washed away. Wrong?

And US manufacturers probably don't say "rinse" out of a fear that American consumers will consider the step too arduous.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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This website has some very compelling explanations:

http://www.sagevfoods.com/MainPages/Rice101/Cooking.htm

On the question of the changing ratio for larger quantities, it says:

Keep in mind that when using the same pot, when more rice is added and the water is at a deeper level, the same amount of water will be boiled off regardless of the level of water in the pot. This is why simple ratio formulas (like 2 to 1) don’t work. Two cups (versus one cup) of rice will need two cups of water to be absorbed into the rice and one extra (not two) to be lost to vapor. This is why many experienced rice cooks usually measure a relatively constant level (like ½ inch) of water above the level of the rice, regardless of the quantity of rice.

On the issue of rinsing:

Sage V Foods did exhaustive studies on washing rice before putting in equipment to wash rice before grinding it into flour for the Japanese market. It seemed like such a waste of money and effort to wash and dry rice prior to grinding into flour. But we learned that some bran (with free fatty acids) and other contaminants do remain on even the best milled rice and the flavor is cleaner when the rice is washed. The whiteness improves and much of the loose surface starch is removed. The rice will be cleaner and less sticky when cooked. (This is preferred even for sticky type rice.)

Also recommends soaking for an hour prior to cooking.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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When I make rice in my rice cooker, I rinse it first. If I don't, I wind up with nasty starchy bubbles coming up out of the vent.

Yes, thanks, between this and the link, I'll be rinsing from now on. Luckily, what with my sink and colander, it's not too arduous.
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On the other hand, there are quite a few sources arguing against rinsing, for example this article on FoodReference.com says:

most people today (chefs included) do not understand that rice had to be rinsed because it was dirty, and/or talc, etc. was used to polish it.  They think it is part of the cooking procedure.

RINSING is not necessary.  Rinsing made sense when rice contained impurities (dirt, twig particles, bugs [alive and dead] and 'polishing' additives).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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To rinse or not to rinse, for me the question is answered by the type of rice I am using.

For the true Japanese short grain, which is pretty much the only rice available in Japan yet rarely available anywhere outside of it, rinsing is required. On a side note, most "Japanese" rice in the US is medium grain not short grain and cooks up differently.

The short grain rice that the Japanese eat everyday sticks together but isn't "sticky rice", not rinsing it well tends to make it stickier than it should be (if it is actually gummy you probably added too much water). Not rinsing it well enough also leave this starch film on the sides of the rice cooker/pot and also leaves a slightly off smell and taste. I can tell when I haven't rinsed it enough from the smell that emits from the rice cooker when it's cooking.

For anything other than short grain Japanese rice, I either give it a swish in a colander or leave it as is.

If you have access to true Japanese short grain rice try a taste test, cook two small pans of it one with rinsed rice and one with out rinsing. You'll never ask this question again...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I think that the same test is worth performing on other rices, too. I have come to rinse virtually every non-sticky rice as a matter of course and taste; the grains seem more distinct. This has been true even with my insanely brilliant Zojirushi fuzzy logic rice cooker, which can program satellites and perform extraterrestrial mind control as well as cook rice. In fact, it wrote this post.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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And... is there any way to keep rice from sticking to stainless pot (when made with the basic absorption method)?

Looks like your post got overlooked in the discussion of washing rice.

You may have noticed that most of us have rice cookers, which avoids the problem totally.

If you want to use a pan and the absorption method, the secret to rice not sticking lies in temperature control. Use around 1 1/3 cups rice (well washed :biggrin: ) to 1 1/4 cups water (US measures). With the lid on, bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Then reduce the heat as far as it will go and leave for another 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave for 10 minutes more (the latter two steps allow the rice to absorb the residual water and cook through). Then serve.

On the other hand, if you don't want to go to the expense of getting a rice cooker, you could always get yourself a microwave rice cooking container. Take 1 Cup rice, wash thoroughly. Put sufficient water in the cooker such that touching the rice with the tip of your index finger, the water is one knuckle above the rice. Put in the microwave on high for 11 minutes. Let it rest for a further ten minutes with the lid on, open, and serve.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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I almost always use the basic absorption method in a steel pot, mainly because I'm too cheap to buy a proper rice cooker. On days when I have created a crispy layer on the bottom, and choose not to eat it in the Korean fashion, I find that returning the lid to the pot and allowing the rice to cool helps with lifting the stuck rice off. I think the condensation in the pot loosens it, and it usually lifts off in one layer - but this only works if you leave about a third the pot of cooked rice in to cool. If you empty the pot, it doesn't work as well.

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I have to admit that after watching many cooks whose daily starch is rice prepare that item I have always rinsed. However, it is a quick, flowing process. Rice goes in the cooker pot, water is added as you swish in a circular motion with maybe a few back & forths thrown in. After mere seconds it is cloudy and you tilt and drain. There will still be some water because you didn't want to lose any rice. This is repeated until the water is just a bit cloudy (usually 3 times). Then since you know you still have a bit of water in there you hold back maybe a quarter cup on the added water. The cooker is forgiving and you tend to get a workable method without having to really plot it all out. This whole process takes less than a minute I would guess and people standing around the kitchen might never know you were rinsing rice.

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