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In The Family
Why Should You Rinse Rice Before Cooking?

An extra step makes for fluffier grains free of that gummy texture.

A lot of recipes that promise perfectly cooked rice call for rinsing the grains in water before cooking. Is it absolutely necessary? No. But will it make your rice come out fluffy and fresh while reducing the risk of gummy grains? Absolutely. Think of rice like another starch: pasta. When you cook a pot of pasta, the cooking liquid turns cloudy from all the surface starches released by the noodles. In a pot of rice, that water has nowhere to go—it all soaks into the rice grains until the rice is cooked and the pan is dry.

That means all the starch from the surface of the rice is locked up between the grains, binding them into a clumpy, gooey mess. Rinsing your rice before cooking gives the surface starches on your rice somewhere to go besides the pot. For best results, rinse rice in a fine-mesh strainer under the tap until the water runs clear. It won’t change your life, but it’ll certainly change your rice for the better.

Also read: Japan’s Taco Rice Obsession

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.