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After my workout today I went to my favorite local Korean restaurant for a seafood tofu soup bowl loaded with shrimp, clams, and mussels. This charming Asian eatery serves its tofu bowls with fresh kimchi and rice on the side. When the soup comes, you put a small amount of rice on your spoon, then dip it into the soup.
The food at this restaurant is always incredibly fresh, high in quality, and absolutely delicious! Another reason I continue eating here is the fact this restaurant serves clean rice. What is clean rice, you ask?
Clean rice is rice that has been rinsed thoroughly before cooking. If you eat a lot of rice, you can eventually tell when rice has been cleaned, and when it hasn’t. I won’t tattle and name-drop here, but I’ve eaten at plenty of restaurants that serve dirty rice, and I’m never eating at those places again!
How do you wash rice, and why is washing rice so important?
Benefits Of Cleaning Your Rice
While it’s true that rice is a whole grain, rice still goes through some processing, to a degree. That said, it’s difficult to know exactly what your rice has endured and been exposed to throughout processing. While we hope food manufacturers and millers have our best interests at heart when it comes to our health, you just never know what goes on at the rice mill.
Cleaning your rice allows you to rinse away chemicals, dirt, and other random filth that may be residing on your rice. In fact, this 2012 Consumer Reports article reveals that most brands of rice — especially American brands — contain trace amounts of arsenic, which increases your risk for skin problems and a number of cancers. Some brands of rice have even been found to contain talc.
My household consumes a LOT of rice, so I usually buy 20-pound bags of rice from the Asian or Mexican supermarkets. I never purchase rice that has been processed in the U.S., mainly because I live in a part of the country where I have access to real, authentic (and tasty!) Asian and Mexican food in bulk.
How To Clean Your Rice
Washing rice is actually quite simple and painless! Here’s what you do:
- Pour the desired amount of rice into a bowl. (I use this convenient rice-washing bowl by Inomata, which was only a couple bucks on Amazon!)
- Fill the bowl with enough water to submerge the rice fully.
- Use your hand to swish the rice around in the bowl. You’ll notice that the water turns an opaque, milky-white color. This is the “dirt” you’re washing away from the rice.
- Carefully pour out all the water without losing any rice, then refill the bowl with fresh water.
- Swish the rice around with your hand as before, then rinse out as needed. Repeat this step again, if desired. Voila! Your rice will now be clean and ready for cooking!
The amount of water you add to the rice at this point depends on your personal preference. Most people do one part rice to two parts water, but I like adding less water to avoid mushy rice. Since there’s already a bit of water left in the bowl from cleaning the rice, I usually end up doing about one part rice, to a little over one part water.
If you get into the habit of washing your rice every time, you’ll start noticing a huge difference in its taste. Pretty soon, even you might become a rice snob and refuse to eat at restaurants that don’t wash their rice!
Do you wash your rice, and if so, what other tips and tricks do you have?