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I'm interested in learning to make my own sushi.

Every guide I have read has stressed that the rice has to be rinsed thoroughly.

The bags of rice I generally buy say not to rinse the rice in order to preserve the nutrients. What is the reason behind rinsing rice?

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As I grew up, rice was always ringed before cooking. I followed that process until I met a woman from brazil who share her rice cooking technique. Here goes: when cooking one cup of dry rice, first add one tablespoon of olive or canola oil to the saucepan that will be used to cocoon the rice. Heat the oil just enough to make it flow. Add the rice and shake or stir the rice until it is coated with oil. Add cold water and salt then bring rice to a risk boil and let boil for one minute. Cover the pan and leave on very low heat for approx 15 min. Let stand 3 minutes and serve. I guarantee separate – user13921 Oct 14 '12 at 15:35
up vote 34 down vote accepted

It removes excess starch, so your sushi rice doesn't turn into nasty glutinous slop. The texture of the rice is very important, so you'll need to rinse it several times before you steam it. Make sure the water is nice and clear after the last time you rinse it, and make sure you buy japonica or similar: if you use regular rice, you may not get good results.

I wouldn't worry overmuch about the nutritional content of white sushi rice (you can starve on a diet of it). It's what you put into your sushi that'll give it nutritional value.

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Good point. What about in non-sushi applications? Should I always rinse rice? or, is it OK not to rinse when I'm not making sushi? – Jacob R Jul 12 '10 at 19:57
@Jacob R: for risotto, you never rinse the rice, as you specifically want the starch that you're washing away. – Joe Jul 12 '10 at 20:05
@Myself: To clarify: it's okay NOT to rinse rice. I never rinse unless I'm making sticky rice or some other kind of steamed rice. – Satanicpuppy Jul 14 '10 at 16:07
I always rinse rice when I want fluffy light rice as you need to remove that starch, but don't rinse for sticky Thai rice or risotto – vwiggins Sep 16 '10 at 12:37
Totally unrelated to the Asian / sushi aspect of this.. rinsing the rice at least once can get you a fluffier-looking Spanish or Mexican rice when presentation counts. – zanlok Dec 9 '10 at 23:35

I use California Calrose type rice for making sushi. I follow the basic cooking instructions on the bag. Then I use the sushi vinegar and salt when finishing off the rice during the cooling phase. I never rinse the rice and it always turns out perfect.

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Strictly speaking, this doesn't exactly answer the question, which is more about why rice gets rinsed, not just whether it's necessary. – logophobe Jul 31 '14 at 16:23

Rice that says 'not to rinse' has already been cleaned and enriched with vitamins because of the nutrients removed in milling. Rinsing it will remove the vitamins. Rices that have not been cleaned and enriched need to be rinsed because they are dirty and sometimes have a powder added after milling. Sticky rice definitely needs to be rinsed several times, then soaked for a few hours, drained and finally steamed to cook.

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