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Every Indian recipe I see seems to insist on rinsing basmati rice before cooking it. Why, I have no idea, because I never rinse it, yet I can discern no difference between my rice and rice cooked by other people that have, presumably, spent the extra 15 minutes rinsing.

If the stickiness is the difference, as suggested in this thread, then I would suggest that not rinsing the rice would make eating rice-based thali a lot less traumatic because the grains would clump together more easily.

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Related: Why do you have to rinse rice? – Orbling May 12 '11 at 22:44
You're right, for basmati, this is probably less necessary than other varietals. – zanlok May 13 '11 at 0:46
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Basmati rice is supposed to flow freely though, if it clumps, you are using it against the norm and should probably stick with a stickier rice.

Usually Basmati is used Pilau style, or in a Biryiani, then the grains are slightly coated in some form of fat (oil, ghee, etc), so the starch you would definitely want rid of.

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Rinsing is a matter of personal taste. The idea is that it removes excess starch from the rice, which if left in can result in a 'gloopy' consistency.

I'm not sure why anyone would spend 15 minutes doing it though - I rinse my rice about six times (fill the saucepan, tip it out, repeat).

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Yeah, 15 minutes seems a bit much, unless you're rinsing each grain individually or something. :) – bikeboy389 May 12 '11 at 20:44
15 seconds is more like it. – Aaronut May 12 '11 at 22:06
Well, I've always been taught by many Indians to rinse it in a sieve till the water runs clear, ie. the loose starch is gone. That usually takes a good minute. – Orbling May 12 '11 at 22:45
Hyper-bowl? Is that some kind of new kitchen gadget? ;) – ElendilTheTall May 13 '11 at 13:08
and I upped the ante! – Doug May 15 '11 at 23:48

I am wondering if the origin of this step in the recipe comes from recipes written in India, and have been copied over into western book without asking this questions.

I do know that many times in India, rice is stored in sacks with some kind of insecticide (usually boric acid) applied to it. So there's always a need to wash the rice before it's cooked.. So maybe this step comes from that..

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Sometimes rice is polished using talcum powder, which is one reason you would need to rinse it. Another reason would be to get rid of extra starch. The extra starch cause the rice to clump and stick, which isn't what you are looking for with basmati rice. Normally you just rinse it until the water runs clear.

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I used to rinse basmati rice prior to cooking by steaming in a closed pot. Then I got fed up and couldn't be bothered. Nothing changed - the rice remains fluffy.

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