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All these years I've just washed rice, put it into a pressure cooker (a regular pressure cooker; not a rice cooker), added the right amount of water and cooked it until the first whistle. Both for brown rice and white rice.

But when looking up this page on Basmati rice, the author does two things differently.
1. She pre-soaks the rice for 30 minutes.
2. She brings the water to a boil before adding the rice to it.

On searching for more info, this site and this site recommend soaking rice overnight! This completely perplexed me.

Assuming that I want to cook my rice with soaking, how do I choose between soaking for 30 minutes and overnight? Is soaking overnight a safety concern? Is it better to soak it overnight in the fridge? Wont an overnight soaking make it absorb a lot of water and make it less suitable for cooking in a pressure cooker?

  • Hi Nav, we usually ask people to split multiple questions into different posts. In your case, two of the three questions you had were duplicates of this one: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/15317, so I removed those from your post. Also, asking for "the correct procedure" doesn't make sense, there are several correct procedures, each with its variations. So I changed your title too. – rumtscho Nov 24 '19 at 9:19
  • Hi Nav, I'm sorry. At first I thought your source boils the water, cools it down and then uses it for rice cooking, which would indeed be an unusual thing deserving its own question. It turns out it was a language issue, and the blog you cite recommends adding the rice to boiling water - this makes your question a full duplicate, and the answers are accordingly full of random rice cooking advice. So I|m closing as a duplicate now. – rumtscho Nov 24 '19 at 18:13
  • Thank you rumtscho. The reason I asked the question was because I saw two websites recommending different soaking times. I hope you would agree that asking about soaking overnight vs soaking for 30 min is unique enough to not be a duplicate? I've removed the extra parts of the question that veered off the main question. – Nav Nov 25 '19 at 7:06
  • Hi Nav, thank you for editing the question! You're right, the 30 min vs. overnight soaking is not a duplicate. I pared down a bit further so people won't go into answering the parts which are already covered elsewhere, and reopened. – rumtscho Nov 25 '19 at 13:20
  • Your corrections are perfect! Thank you :-) – Nav Nov 25 '19 at 13:52
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In my experiments with steamed rice and broken steamed rice so far, I haven't found any disadvantage to soaking rice overnight. The rice can be kept on the kitchen counter-top (no need for refrigeration). The rice absorbs a bit of water, but that didn't seem to make any difference in the cooking. It absorbed the usual amount of water (4 cups water for 1 cup rice) when cooked in a pressure cooker.
Given what Jean says about arsenic, it's probably better to soak rice overnight, especially if it is being steamed, rather than boiled.

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How long to soak rice, that's a good question! The reason it is good to soak your rice overnight, is to leach the arsenic out of it. Arsenic is found in the ground water where rice is grown, naturally collected by the plant, and deposited in the grains as it matures.

I read that you can soak the rice or just cook it in 4 times as much water, or whatever your pot holds. As I understand it, the arsenic boils out, and doesn't leave residue in the food.

This is a thumb nail sketch of arsenic in rice, done from memory. If you are curious, there are many articles that explore it more fully. Ex: How To Cook Rice To Remove Arsenic

  • 2
    Arsenic is a metal. It's not going to "boil out". The point of long soaking to remove arsenic is that you rinse the rice after it's soaked. – Sneftel Jan 8 at 17:23

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