top of page
  • Juju Kurihara

How do you wash rice?

Updated: May 9, 2023

One day, I was cooking and my boyfriend offered me a help. “That´s nice”, I thought and asked him to wash rice. By that time, he had learnt that the rice should be washed. For me it was surprising to know that the rice sold in Europa doesn´t need to be washed.

While I was cutting some vegetables, the rice had been washed and he passed me the pot. “Thank you”, I said and was about to place the pot in the rice cooker. But I realised one thing. There was steam coming up from the rice just had been washed.

I asked him, “Did you wash this with a hot water?”. “Of course” he said. “It´s cold.”

NOOOOOOOOO! I screamed in my mind but I told him calmly that the rice should be washed with cold water. “Why?” he asked (of course). But why is it really? And do you know how to wash rice properly? Here I show you.

1. Put some water into the rice pot (if you have a rice cooker) or a bowl. Quickly stir and throw away the water. This process has to be quick otherwise the bran covers the rice absorbs water and hard to get rid of. The same reason, you should put the rice after fill the bowl with the water.

2. Again pour some water in the bowl and stir about 10 seconds. Then throw away the water and repeat this process for a few times until the water becomes clearer. Be gentle when you wash the rice otherwise the rice breaks.

3. Now pour the fresh water over the rice. You may see the water still muddy but this is not bran or dirt but is the yumminess of the rice.

4. Before cooking, you need to rest the rice in the water for half an hour in summer and an hour in winter.

5. The amount of the water you cook the rice changes in different season. The rice cooker pot has marks and easy to measure the rice. A cup of rice with the water until the line 1, two cups of rice wit the water until the line 2… But, this works during the summer. In winter, it´s recommendable to add a little more water and a little less during the rainy season.

6. Once the rice is done, don´t rush to serve. Open the top and lightly mix the rice and wait 5-10 mins with top on. This process is steaming and it gives the rice more light texture.

Why can´t I wash the rice with warm water?

As a child, it wasn´t a fun work for me to wash the rice in winter. The water was too cold. So one day, I came up to the idea of washing it with warm water. Why not? At the end the rice will be cooked and my hands won´t hurt so much. I was quite proud of my idea. When my father came back to the kitchen and saw some lines of steam coming up from the rice, he shouted at me, “Did you wash it with hot water?”. “Well, ‘warm’ water” I thought but I didn´t dear to tell him. I just didn´t understand why he was so angry.

The rice absorbs 80% of water in the first 5 mins. Warm water accelerate this speed and the rice absorbs all the dirt even before changing the water for the first time. Because of the better refining system, there is a type of rice that you don´t have to wash but before, more bran (ぬか/nuka) or dirt were mixed with the rice. And this is why you need to wash it and with cold water.

Also the rice taste sweeter when it´s washed with cold water. Yes, it´s chemistry. The rice grains contain amylase, which is an enzyme that catalyses the hydrolysis of starch into sugar. It´s activated with heat and this is why cooked rice smells sweet. But when you wash it with warm water, amylase becomes active but it´s drained with the water you throw away during the washing process. Means, when you cook the rice, there will be no or much less amylase left in the rice and it will be taste less.

Perhaps my father was a little exaggerated but if you like to eat full flavoured rice, you should wash it with cold water… even in winter. Eat well, everyone!


Story about the rice and more :

Why rice should be washed with cold water? :

How to wash rice for the perfect cooked rice :



Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page