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Do you have to rinse Japanese rice 7 times?

I have some friends who are interested in Japanese food. When I was invited by one of them, he asked me, "You have to wash Japanese rice 7 times, am I right?" I couldn't answer immediately, because I have never counted how many times I wash it.

What is Japanese rice?

Japanese rice is a type of short-grain rice. When it's cooked, it is sticky enough to pick up by chopsticks. There are lots of different type of rice in this world, but I have never met a Japanese person who prefers other rice but Japanese. I could say, almost all of Japanese only like Japanese rice. It is so important for their diet.

Why do we have to wash it so many times?

I am not sure that you have to rinse it 7 times, but we do rinse it several times, not only once. So why do we have to wash it so many times?

I think, it is because you want to remove excess starch, which may add it unpreferred taste. When you put some water to the rice, you will see the water changed into smoky white. It is ‘excess starch', so it is better to remove it.

So how many times exactly do we need to rinse it?

It depends on the rice and your preference. We normally do like this:

  1. Pour clean water adding to rice in a bowl, the water level should be 2-3 cm above the rice
  2. Use your palm, gently push and squeeze the rice, so that the water becomes more whiteish 
  3. Drain it and repeat 1 and 2, about 2-3 times.
  4. Pour water onto rice in the bowl, again, but don't squeeze it, just stir it roughly
  5. Drain it and repeat 4, until the water gets more or less transparent 

Please note that the water doesn't have to be completely transparent. Some people say that you might lose its taste and nutrition if you rinse it too much.

After you rinse the rice, you drain it and cook it with an appropriate amount of water. Hope this article can be helpful for you. Enjoy your cooking and the Japanese diet.


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