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For both long-grain (Jasmine) and short-grain rice I typically rinse the rice with cold water to remove some of the starch and to clean the rice a bit. What temperature (hot/warm/cold) should I use to wash the rice, and why does it matter?

Thanks!

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Why did you put "Jasmine" after long-grain? I use Jasmine rice occasionally for Thai dishes, but it is not the most common form of long-grain rice, Basmati is far more common. –  Orbling Feb 28 '11 at 0:34
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I only use Jasmine long-grain rice, this is the first time I have heard of Basmati. Thanks for that info. –  O.O Feb 28 '11 at 1:00
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I grew up in SE Asia and now live in Australia. Long grain always refers to Jasmine rice. Basmati is always explicitly named. –  Megasaur Feb 28 '11 at 1:14
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@subt13 - you haven't heard of Basmati? You poor thing - it's the nicest rice by a mile (admits english curry addict) –  Martin Beckett Feb 28 '11 at 17:29
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@mgb - I need to get out more :( –  O.O Feb 28 '11 at 17:53
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4 Answers 4

It is usually recommended that basmati and jasmine not be rinsed because they are not overly starchy and the taste is better unrinsed. American style short grain rice and japanese rice is usually rinsed to provide a cleaner flavor, but this can also wash away some of the vitamin fortification. Do not rinse risotto rice, since the starchiness is important to the dish.

When you do rinse rice, the purpose is to clean it and reduce the starch, but not to cook it, so cold water is probably best, but it likely does not matter much.

In the end, rinsing or not is not terribly noticeable, and mostly comes down to taste. You will definitely see both sides argued well. To me, this usually means either way is fine.

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Who recommends unwashed jasmine? Every source I can remember coming across recommends rinsing at least 2-3 times (some people suggest as many as 6 times). If you want it to be sticky then I suppose you wouldn't rinse it. –  Aaronut Feb 28 '11 at 3:46
    
As I said, it comes down to taste. If I was using jasmine, it would be to get that creamier consistency. But, I fully support that you might prefer it differently. I found a reference which might help someone decide whether or not to rinse different types here: busycooks.about.com/od/howtocook/a/ricescience.htm –  michael Feb 28 '11 at 5:24
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I always rinse basmati rice, it's not polished so there is a lot of starch. Rinsing is the only way to get it light and fluffy. –  Martin Beckett Feb 28 '11 at 17:28
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I also rinse basmati rice most of the time -- recommended to me by Iraqi relatives who make rice all the time. When rinsed, the rice separates into individual grains that remain distinct even when mixed with other ingredients. Unrinsed, the rice will be slightly clumpier, and have more distinct flavor rather than blending into other ingredients. –  Martha F. Feb 28 '11 at 17:58
    
Ditto. I always rinse my basmati 5 or 6 times, then soak it for 15-20 mins, then rinse again once or twice. –  ElendilTheTall Mar 1 '11 at 10:39
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I cook both jasmine and basmati on a regular basis and I no longer bother to rinse either of them. The recipes I started with suggest rinsing with cool water until the water goes clear, but I found that it didn't really make a noticeable difference to me, so I stopped rinsing it. My rice turns out fluffy and delicious every time. Other types of rice might have a more noticeable difference whether rinsed or not. For example, a starchy rice like arborio, you specifically DON'T rinse because you usually want the starch to make risotto or rice pudding creamy.

My guess is that jasmine and basmati just aren't starchy enough to make the rice sticky with my cooking method, since that would presumably be why you'd want to rinse -- for a fluffier, less sticky result. Getting the right ratio of rice to water will probably have a bigger effect on the final texture. Whether you prefer the texture achieved with or without rinsing is largely a matter of personal taste. Since I like it just as much without rinsing, I skip that step.

For reference, here's my cooking method:

  • 1.5 cups jasmine rice (or 2 cups basmati rice)
  • 1.75 cups water (or 2.5 cups for basmati)

Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes (or 10 minutes for basmati) with the lid on.

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I suspect there may also be a cultural component to rinsing rice, which may depend on factors beyond starch level in the rice, such as tradition/history and how rice is processed/packaged/sold in different countries. As long as your rice does not need rinsing to clean it, I doubt there's really a "right" answer as to whether or not you should rinse your rice. Try making a batch of rinsed at the same time as a batch of un-rinsed, compare, and decide what suits your tastes. –  Allison Mar 2 '11 at 17:06
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According to On Food and Cooking, rinsing removes surface starch, making for a fluffier, less sticky result, while soaking allows the rice to absorb some water, speeding cooking time. It also mentions that in China and Japan, cooking methods are oriented towards rice that can be easily eaten with chopsticks, so removing all the starch is less desirable. –  Allison Mar 2 '11 at 17:27
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Unfortunately I don't agree with the given answers. I recently bought a $350 zojirushi rice cooker. According to the manual there is such a thing as "rinse-free" rice. There is even a function on the rice cooker for this setting. In addition, the rice cooker manual explains that the rice should be rinsed several times with cold water.

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"rinse-free" rice is a product sold primarily on the Japanese market, which is short-grain Japanese rice that's been milled in such a way as to not need rinsing. This kind of rice requires a bit of extra water; however, this setting is not for other kinds of rice. (comment suggested by anon. user) –  rumtscho Mar 14 '12 at 11:24
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I always rinse mine after cooking with boiling hot water. I never rinse if having with cream and sugar for desert. Many restaurants and even many Iron Chefs agree; washing rice in HOT water then frying it with whatever is the way it should be done.

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Doesn't the boiling water rinse start cooking the rice? –  lemontwist Oct 6 '12 at 10:30
    
Which Iron Chef? –  KatieK Oct 8 '12 at 16:06
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