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I have just stumbled upon a recipe for t'beet, which is an Iraqi oven slow-cooked chicken and rice dish.

Most of the recipes I found come from American websites, where they do not indicate that the rice needs to be washed. I live in France, and I know that in the US, most supermarket white rice is already washed.

But I wonder whether not washing the rice has a purpose for this specific dish, or shall I wash it?

Thanks in advance!

2 Answers 2

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Let me give you more specific advice on T'beet/T'bit and rice.

Many Middle Eastern rice dishes require washing rice in multiple changes of water, because that's the Persian tradition that ensures very separate grains of fluffy rice. As such, you can never to wrong with rinsing your rice for any Middle Eastern dish.

However, in dishes were the rice is going to be cooked until wet, soft, and sticky, rinsing it isn't required, since the rice will be sticky anyway. T'bit/T'beet is one such recipe; the rice is slow cooked with beef and/or tomatoes with the chicken until it sticks together in clumps.

As such, rinsing the rice is optional.

Recipes for reference:

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Most rice cultures wash their rice, because white rice may still have a layer of ‘fine bran’. If the rice was stored at higher temperatures or for too long, the little bits of bran can go rancid and spoil the taste of the dish. Even without the rancidity issue, some people think that it spoils the taste of the rice.

If you’re getting rice that’s been stored well, you may not need to rinse it for that reason, but it still may throw off the dish as the rice ends up a little stickier. Many Iranian dishes try to make sure that every grain is separate, and I suspect that would apply to other cuisines of the region.

As such, you probably don’t ‘need’ to wash the rice, but it may get you closer to recreating the original dish.

(Japan now has ‘no-wash’ rice, supposedly selling it as a way to save water for restaurants and in drought stricken areas, but I don’t know how far it has spread, and if it’s only japonica rice or also long grain (which might break during processing), which is more common in middle eastern cuisines)

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