강남 텐까페 Rice is a staple food for billions of people in Asia and Africa. It’s also a versatile ingredient for many iconic dishes from around the world, including dolmades from Greece, risottos from Italy, paella from Spain and rice puddings from the United Kingdom.
Despite its universal appeal, the question asked in every kitchen, be it a professional one or your own home, is whether you should pre-wash (or rinse) your rice before cooking.
Other factors, such as the type of rice, family tradition, local health warnings and even the perceived time and effort required will influence whether people pre-wash their rice.
Is there evidence that washing rice makes it less sticky?
A recent study compared the effect of washing on the stickiness and hardness of three different types of rice from the same supplier. The three types were glutinous rice, medium grain rice and jasmine rice. These different rices were either not washed at all, washed three times with water, or washed ten times with water.
Contrary to what chefs will tell you, this study showed the washing process had no effect on the stickiness (or hardness) of the rice.
Instead, the researchers demonstrated the stickiness was not due to the surface starch (amylose), but rather a different starch called amylopectin that is leached out of the rice grain during the cooking process. The amount leached differed between the types of rice grains.
So, it’s the variety of rice – rather than washing – that’s critical to the stickiness. In this study, glutinous rice was the stickiest, while medium grain rice and jasmine rice were less sticky, and also harder as tested in the laboratory. (Hardness is representative of the textures associated with biting and chewing.)
You may still want to wash your rice, though
Traditionally rice was washed to rinse off dust, insects, little stones and bits of husk left from the rice hulling process. This may still be important for some regions of the world where the processing is not as meticulous, and may provide peace of mind for others.
Can washing rice prevent bacteria?
In short, no. Washing rice will have no effect on the bacterial content of the cooked rice, as high cooking temperatures will kill all bacteria present.
If wet rice or cooked rice is kept at room temperature, this can activate the bacterial spores and they begin to grow. These bacteria then produce toxins which can not be deactivated by cooking or re-heating; these toxins can cause severe gastrointestinal disease. So, make sure you avoid keeping washed or cooked rice at room temperature for too long.