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How to Make Perfect Korean Steamed Rice (Step.2 : How to rinse the rice)

How to rinse the rice

(This is part II of How to Make Perfect Korean Steamed Rice. Click here for part I and part III.) 

After buying good rice, now we can start making perfect Korean steamed rice.

The first step we need to do is to rinse the rice. Do you rinse your rice? I always do.

The reason is to get rid of impurities such as dust, rice bran, and potential agricultural chemicals. There are some brands that are pre-rinsed before they are packed, but they are usually 20-30% more expensive. So we might rinse it ourself, shouldn’t we?

While you are reading the list below, check your habits if you are rinsing the rice right.

How to rinse the rice 

  1. Run the cold tap water until it covers the rice. Swish the rice with your hands a couple of times and change the water quickly (To avoid rice bran odor getting into the rice).
  2. Repeat the “step 1” 3-5 times until the water clears out (However, you do not need to rinse it until the water is crystal clear. This only means you have lost more nutrition).
  3. Soak the rice straight away after rinsing it (this is recommended), but for some reason, if there is going to be a time gap then it is better to sieve it and set it aside until you proceed to soak it. (Again it is to prevent the rice bran odor getting into the rice and the loss of nutrition). (I will cover “how to soak the rice” on the next post).

Things to remember

  • Do not scrub the rice too hard (Otherwise it can lose its nutrition and it can possibly break the grains).
  • If some rice floats on the water, pick it out and throw it away (It has been eaten by rice weevil – bugs).

What were your results? Have you been doing it right?
I need to fix some of my habits like changing the water quickly to prevent the rice bran odor getting into the rice and throwing out the bug eaten rice. I always thought that throwing the rice is an unforgivable waste (trained by my mom 🙂 ) and I had no idea that rice has an odor too. Did you?

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 27, 2019
Sue and My Korean Kitchen Profile

Welcome to my Korean kitchen! I’m so happy that you're here. I am Sue, the creator behind My Korean Kitchen (since 2006). I love good food and simplifying recipes. Here you will find my best and family approved recipes. Thanks for stopping by!

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13 thoughts on “How to Make Perfect Korean Steamed Rice (Step.2 : How to rinse the rice)”

  1. I always put my rice in a fine sieve and hold under running water, stirring the rice around gently with my free hand until the water clears some. I was taught Japanese-style rice which involves letting it stand in a sieve for 30-60 min and I always have perfect rice, no smell at all.

  2. Thanks so much for this info! I always wondered how much to wash my rice – I always felt like I was washing it too much. Now I know (and I now know WHY I wash it, too)!

  3. 3-5 times…0.o I never know we must rinse the rice so many times. Usually I only do it twice. Now I should change my way of washing the rise. I only swirl it around and round and round.

  4. K, speaking of which my sister may rinse the rice like that. I am not 100% sure though. I haven’t had many chances to observe other people washing their rice. 🙂

  5. My mom always stresses the importance of rinsing it dry after each wet rinsing. You don’t scrub hard, but you give it a nice swirl with the palm of your hands in a pushing downward motion, using the lower part of your palm. Actually, I have observed many Korean moms doin g it this way!

    Have you ever seen this “rice washing” technique before?

  6. If your rice sits at room temperature for awhile after rinsing, or if you let it soak too long, the rice may begin giving off an odor. Some rice this happens quickly, with others it takes a few hours.

  7. Hummm…I wonder why drain the rice since next step is to soak it?….Do you leave it out for a while before soaking it?

  8. While I always rinse my rice, I have to say that as an American I’m not terrible adept at distinguishing different types of rice by taste.

    I can distinguish basmati from Japanese or Korean rice by the length of grain and stickiness, so basmati tastes a little lighter. Other than that I can’t really tell.

    And I will definitely begin to throw away the floating grains. I don’t want to eat bugs more than anyone else (aboriginals aside…)

  9. very good tips! I usually rinse the rice to the amount of cups I am making. i.e. 1 cup rinse 1 time, 2 cups rinse 2 times and so on. I don’t “scrub” the rice at all, I read somewhere that it doesn’t help to make “shiny” rice.


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