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Thursday, February 16, 2017

How to cook rice.

Millions of cooks are endangering their health by cooking their rice incorrectly, scientists believe.
Putting more water in the pan or even steeping it overnight is the best way to flush out traces of the poison arsenic, they found.
The chemical contaminates rice as a result of industrial toxins and pesticides which can remain in the soil for decades.
Experts have long debated what level of arsenic is safe, with new limits set by the EU in 2016.
Chronic exposure to the toxin has been linked to a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
But experiments suggest that the way rice is cooked is key to reducing exposure to the toxic but naturally occurring chemical.
Prof Andy Meharg, from Queens University Belfast, tested three ways of cooking rice for the BBC programme Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.
In the first, he used a ratio of two parts water to one part rice, where the water is “steamed out” during cooking.
In the second, with five parts water to one part rice, with the excess water washed off, levels of arsenic were almost halved.
And in the third method, where the rice was soaked overnight, levels of the toxin were reduced by 80 per cent.

How to cook rice.
Measure the dry rice in a jug.
Soak rice overnight
Wash then rinse the rice really well, until the water is clear.
Drain really well.
Place rice in a saucepan with five parts water to one part rice (plus a little salt) and stir once.
Bring to the boil, then turn the heat all the way down and cover the pan tightly with a lid.
Cook on the lowest heat possible for 10-15 mins without uncovering the pan.
Use a fork to fluff up the cooked rice.

Basmati rice contains lower levels than other rice
Brown rice usually contains more arsenic than white rice (because of the husk)
Growing rice organically doesn’t make a difference to levels
Rice cakes and crackers can contain levels higher than in cooked rice.
The levels of arsenic found in rice milk far exceed the amounts that would be allowed in drinking water.


If you want fluffy rice that will stay separate even after cooking, go for a long grain – either white or brown.
If you need your rice to be cooked in a hurry but still retain its flavour, choose basmati.
For sweet and sticky rice, opt for a glutinous grain.
Unless you're making a risotto, take care to rinse your rice thoroughly before you cook it.
Wait until the water begins to run clear, showing it is free of starch.

Risotto is a tricky dish to get right and the secret lies not only in the method, but in the type of rice you choose.
Diana Henry recommends going for the 'carnaroli' type: "Carnaroli has a great flavour and produces a very creamy risotto.
Vialone nano has smaller, less starchy grains, so the finished risotto seems lighter.
Arborio is the most basic and widely available but overcooks easily.
I always go for carnaroli or vialone nano."

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