Honestly speaking, I love rice. It is one of the few meals I can eat over and over without getting bored or feel like I need to change to something else. Some of the things that make me love rice are that it is easily available, affordable, and easy to prepare. It also goes well with other foods like vegetables, meat, and curries. Additionally, it has a long shelf life. You can store it for several months without it going bad.
For the rice to come out well, I usually wash it thoroughly. Surprisingly, I have never used a strainer to wash my rice. I prefer other methods of washing it. I always rinse the starch from raw grains using a bowl and make sure the final washing water is not cloudy. I avoid using a strainer since it’s hard to tell when the rinsing water has become clear. I also feel like using it results in too much water usage. If you also don’t like using a strainer to wash rice or you don’t have one, here is an easy way of washing rice using a bowl.
Rinsing Rice Without a Strainer
1. Put the Rice in A Bowl
Use a large bowl to clean your rice, to give room for stirring. I prefer using a transparent bowl since it is easier to notice any form of dirt or cloudiness in the rice water.
2. Add Water to The Bowl and Stir
Add water to the bowl and make sure the rice is completely submerged. Use your hands to stir the grains and remove all the impurities. Ensure you only use clean water for this purpose. You should also make sure your hands are clean to avoid transferring germs to your rice. I have realized that if I use a lot of pressure to stir the rice, some grains usually break. To avoid that, stir the grains gently.
3. Pour Out the Water
Stop stirring the rice and wait for it to settle at the bottom of your bowl. Some impurities will float on its surface. Tilt the bowl a little bit to pour the impurities plus the water. Ensure you pour all the water. Let the water drain in the sink if you don’t intend to use it for other purposes. Repeat this process until the water gets clear, and you will get fluffy textured rice.
You may repeat the process two or more times, depending on the kind of rice you are using.
4. Soak Your Rice
This process is optional, but I prefer not to skip it unless I’m in a rush. I usually put the rice in a mesh sieve and leave it to dry for 30 minutes—soaking helps in achieving an even texture when cooking the rice. The rice also takes less time to cook. Additionally, soaking makes the rice produce a sweet aroma since it takes little time to cook, preserving the aromatic substances formed as the rice is cooking.
Why You Need to Rinse Rice
I’m sure you have ever come across people who don’t rinse their rice and give several excuses why they don’t do so. Honestly, I cannot imagine cooking rice without washing it. For the several years I have been cooking this dish, I have never skipped this process. And I always make sure the water gets clear. Some people will also rinse rice once and pour it into the cooking pot. I still feel this is not right. Here are some of the reasons I always give my rice a good wash.
Get Rid of Impurities
Sometimes, you may buy unpacked rice from vendors in the streets. It goes without saying that you should wash it thoroughly before cooking to get rid of dust and other impurities that may have gotten into it. Even packaged rice is no different. I always believe that it must have gone through human hands, and since I’m not sure their hygiene levels are excellent, it’s good to always wash rice before cooking it.
Get Rid of Chemicals
Rice may contain some substances such as arsenic. Arsenic may come from the soil or water. I’m always optimistic and don’t believe that someone might be cruel enough to add this chemical to rice intentionally. Luckily, washing rice properly removes arsenic. That’s why if you try telling me I should not wash my rice or that I should wash just once, well, I will listen to you. But you can be assured I will not heed to your advice. And if you care about your health as I do, you have more reasons to always give rice a clean wash before it gets to the cooking pot.
Arsenic occurs naturally in water, rocks, and soil. Almost all varieties of rice contain arsenic, in different amounts. The arsenic intake for long periods can result in skin changes, shortage of blood cells production, and other health problems. It has been proven that washing rice properly gets rid of this chemical to a great extent.
Remember, rice is also prone to attack by pests and diseases when growing, just like other plants. Farmers use various herbicides and pesticides to get rid of harmful pests. Some of these pesticides may remain on the rice grains. Washing the grains will eliminate the chemicals and ensure you are taking something that doesn’t put your health at risk.
Getting Rid of Starch
While starch is not harmful and does not cause any health risks, it makes the rice sticky when cooking. If you don’t let the washing water get clear, your cooking water will turn white, and that’s when it will hit you that you were not patient enough to wash the rice well.
Rice usually has two forms of starch, which are amylopectin and amylose. Different varieties have different amounts of starch. When rice gets heated, the starch absorbs water and starts swelling. The starch forms a liquid, which results in the rice forming lumps and getting sticky. I love rice with separate grains. It not only looks presentable, but it also tastes yummy, unlike the sticky rice, which may have a weird taste.
The rice might actually turn porridge-like if it contains a lot of starch. Imagine eating something that looks like porridge while you have been anticipating eating perfectly cooked rice? That should not even be referred to as rice. Luckily, it is easy to avoid your rice turning out that way by giving it a good wash.
Does Rinsing Rice Take Away Its Nutrients?
Some people will skip rinsing rice to avoid washing away its nutrients. I think it’s better to lose some nutrients, as long as some will still be left, instead of eating dirty rice, which might also contain some chemicals.
Uses of Rice Water
Apart from making sure my rice does not get sticky and that I’m eating clean food, there is also something I discovered a few years back. When washing rice, I used to let the water drain into the sink, but that is a thing of the past since I discovered that rice water has several health benefits. And I’m generous enough to share them with you.
It Strengthens and Makes the Hair Beautiful
After washing rice, I usually put the water in a container and let it stay for 24 hours at room temperature. Then, if I don’t use it immediately, I refrigerate it for future use. One mistake that people make is letting the water sit for over 24 hours at room temperature, making it go bad and smell foul. The water should be applied after you shampoo and condition the hair and then rinsed after 5 minutes.
Continuous usage of the water makes the hair appear brighter and thicker. Rice water also prevents hair breakage. It provides a cheap and healthy solution to getting good hair.
It Offers Benefits to The Skin
Rice water is also good for the skin. Some skincare products usually contain rice water. It reduces black patches and increases collagen production, which slows down the development of wrinkles. Rice water also contains substances that offer protection against harmful sun rays.
How About Storing Washed Rice?
Whether or not to store washed rice is a concern for many people. It is better to stir rice while it is still dry. But if you find yourself in a situation where you have already washed your rice and don’t have to cook it, it is advisable to store it in a refrigerator.
For the few times I have had to store already washed rice, I usually put it in an airtight container or a plastic bag then seal it. Rice can stay up to 3 days in the refrigerator but keeping it longer results in it becoming mushy.
If you leave wet rice at room temperature for too long, some bacteria may form, which can cause food poisoning.
Will Soaking Rice for Too Long Make It Go Bad?
Before soaking, ensure you wash it thoroughly to get rid of the cloudiness. You can still choose not to wash it, but keep on changing the water to prevent it from sticking together. Rinse the rice again before cooking it. If you soak rice for more than 48 hours, it will go bad.