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Is it necessary to soak rice every time before cooking.What happens if you don't soak rice? Does it effect the taste after cooking? If soaking is necessary then, How much time is required to soak rice?

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    Reading your question it seems you are mixing up rinsing (= short exposure to water, probably using running water) and soaking (= immersion in water for a longer period). Could you clarify your post, please? You can use the edit function to edit your post. – Stephie Oct 16 '18 at 7:11
  • Hmmm. Now your question has both the words "rinsing" and "soaking". Which did you want to ask about? Both are common techniques with different kinds of rice. – FuzzyChef Oct 16 '18 at 8:10
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    When you say 'Asian', which part of Asia? Also there are various types of rice. Some will need rinsing and soaking, some may need one of them and some may not need either. – Ess Kay Oct 16 '18 at 9:27
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Rice is going to cook okay even if you don't soak it. You do, however, want to wash it until the water runs clear so that you get rid of excess starch and so that it doesn't stick together.

However, if you're worried about arsenic - and apparently this is a thing - soaking the rice would reduce the arsenic levels significantly. It is not something that's ever kept me up at night, but there are parts of the world where it is worth considering.

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Rinsing the rice is always suggested, it removes the leftover husk, powder from the rice being handled and/or processed, insect fragments (you'd be amazed!) and more.

Soaking the rice is part of the cooking process. Wild and brown rice benefit from this because they'll more evenly cook 'to the tooth (al dente)' with less liquid and time; this is how you get a nice and fluffy pilaf. If you don't soak the rice before cooking, it will require more liquid and time, and be more likely to come out clumpy and overcooked.

Most good markets have dozens of kinds of rice and each one does best with a different kind of process and finesse. And we haven't even talked about Sushi rice or Arborio (literally: "absorbent") rice yet.

Soaking long-grain or basmati rice has benefits too, depending on how you season it. If you like to cook your rice with achiote powder and safflower strands, soaking in some warm water for an hour is really helpful.

Some South East Asian recipes call for the liquid where rice was soaked for a few hours as a thickener or ad-hoc liaison. Tinola (a brothy chicken dish) is one, sinigang na baboy (sour pork soup) another. A fan of either dish can tell when the broth is missing that starchy quality only rice can bring. Rice flour, or cornstarch, even in small amounts, would be too much.

So. tl;dr;:

  • Always wash whole rice for hygienic purposes.
  • Consider soaking the rice as part of the technique of cooking it, but make sure it's a conscious decision, e.g. "I think soaking it will yield [result]"
  • Pre-packaged parboiled rice usually doesn't need to be washed or soaked, follow the packager's directions and your own instincts / experience.
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    Arborio means absorbent?? Thanks for that info! I always thought that somebody was trying to convince me that rice grew on trees. – Lorel C. Oct 16 '18 at 14:24
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    I'm sorry, but I think arborio meaning absorbent is an urban legend. Wikipedia says the rice got its name from the town of Arborio in Italy where it originated. I also can't find anything supporting that "arborio" in Italian means anything other than rice, and the town of Arborio would have gotten its name from the Latin arboreus, meaning wooden or tree-like. I know it's a small detail of the answer, but the linguist in me wanted confirmation. – Kareen Oct 17 '18 at 16:24
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I assume you’re not mixing the terms rinsing and soaking:

Rinsing is for geting rid of excess starch on the surface of the rice. This way it won’t be sticky or be less sticky.

Soaking rice does two things:

  1. It will, hydrate the rice grains; thus they will cook slightly faster (dry rice also cooks pretty fast)

  2. You extract the surface starches into the soaking water. if you discard the soaking water, it will have similar effects to rinsing the rice.

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