The unexpected benefits and the right way to soak the rice

Recently, a food journalist wrote about the loud incident on the Huffington Post. Journalist Amrita Amesur said that as an Indian who ate rice from a young age, she “panicked” to see that other people “threw rice straight into the pot” without washing the rice and soaking it.
Therefore, she summarized the opinions of leading experts on this matter.


Should we soak rice before cooking?
According to famous Indian nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, soaking rice before cooking helps with digestion. Soaking rice before cooking helps the digestive system absorb vitamins and minerals from rice better. The rice after soaking also ripens faster and blooms better.
Soaking rice before cooking helps the digestive system absorb vitamins and minerals from rice better.
Phytic acid is a natural substance that reduces the body’s ability to absorb iron, zinc and calcium. I find it to be exceptionally high levels in nuts, grains, and legumes.
“I find phytic acid in plants, which stores phosphorus in the seeds,” nutritionist and chef Shonali Sabherwal, who is recognized by Vogue India as the best nutritionist in 2020, told Huffington Post.
“Phytic acid prevents mineral absorption and soaking rice in water will remove phytic acid. People with zinc and iron deficiency need to be extra careful with this substance,” Sabherwal added.
According to Sabherwal, phytic acid inhibits absorption only during the meal itself, not affecting other foods after a meal.
Therefore, Sabherwal advises readers not to stop eating rice. Instead, use scientific cooking methods to enhance nutrition, such as soaking rice. They have shown soaking rice to be effective in reducing phytic acid and increasing the biological accessibility of zinc and iron (from cereals), experts say.
Soaking rice not only provides good nutrition but also helps the rice taste better.
Soaking rice not only provides good nutrition but also helps the rice taste better.
Marina Balakrishnan, a chef in Mumbai, says cereal only really cooks perfectly inside if it’s soaked long enough.
Balakrishnan explains: “Soaking rice speeds up the cooking process, the seeds will absorb water and heat better, so they are softer.”
“My grandmother used to say that soaking rice also enhances the flavor of the rice. When I tried not soaking it for not enough time, I found the rice was not as soft as it is.”
According to Balakrishnan, whole grain rice, brown rice, black rice, and dragon blood rice are special types of rice that should be soaked for a supple texture.


How to soak rice properly?
Before soaking rice, experts say Indians also regularly wash rice by hand to wash impurities, pick up evil seeds.
There are many types of rice, and lots of ways to cook rice in each culture. Rice varieties are of different shapes and sizes (long grain, medium grain or short grain), and the starch and fiber content also varies. And they also use rice in various recipes for the right texture and flavor results.
Each type of rice needs to be soaked for a different amount of time.
It is these factors that determine the amount of water needed to cook the rice, the time to soak the rice and the time to cook the rice. Based on each type of rice and depending on cooking needs, ideal soaking times can range from 15 minutes to 12 hours, according to experts.
Each type of rice and each recipe needs specific instructions, but this is the ideal soaking time, according to Indian experts:

Closeup of mixed rice
  • Whole grains: soak for 6-12 hours
  • Polished brown rice: soak for 4-6 hours
  • Thai sticky rice: soak overnight
    Basmati rice, jasmine fragrant rice: Soak 15-30 minutes, unless specifically recommended otherwise.
  • Short grain arborio rice: Do not soak
  • Regular polished white rice: soak for 0-15 minutes (recommended but unnecessary)

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