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How To Polish Rice – The Complete Guide

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Polished rice is often not highly recommended because your rice tends to lose its nutrition content when it is polished. With that in mind, there are several uses for polished rice and it can certainly come in handy for making various things – like sake. 

There are machines that polish rice grains, turning them into a shiny white granule that is certainly pretty to look at. Your everyday white rice has typically undergone a polishing process which is what makes it white. 

Did you know you can polish your own rice? How do you polish rice? There are machines that polish rice but you can also polish your own rice through a milling process that removes the husk, bran, and germ. Polishing your own rice at home can be a challenging process if you don’t own a machine to do so but you can make your own polishing setup and get the job done if you are willing to put forth the effort to do so. 

We’ve established a complete guide to walk you through the process of polishing rice as well as informing you of everything you need to know about polished rice. We will break down various information about the steps and get you all of those important details. 

Keep reading to learn about polishing rice and enjoy our complete guide compiled just for you. 

A Guide to Polished Rice

You probably know most rice as brown white or white rice but did you know the white rice many of us know and love is really polished rice? Brown rice is rice in its more natural form. This is why you might hear people say brown rice is better for you. 

The Differences in Brown Rice and Polished Rice 

This is a classic case of brown rice vs. white rice. Both of these types of rice have their own unique characteristics and they both serve their own purposes. If you’re not familiar with polished rice, it is simply white rice. This clarification will hopefully help any confusion. 

We want to share the correlation between white rice (polished) and brown rice in an effort to educate you on the differences and help you understand what polished rice really is. We will then get into some further polishing information. 

Brown rice is removed from the husk but still contains the bran and germ of the rice, which is what makes it brown in color. That outer coating of brown rice is primarily the part that contains niacin, protein, and various minerals. 

Brown rice has a thicker coat around it and a bit of a thicker texture as well since it contains an extra coating that is removed when rice is polished. Brown rice takes longer to cook and while it holds a vast amount of nutrition, it is not always easy on your digestive system. 

The tough exterior layer makes brown rice not as soft and chewy as polished rice. When you chew it, you might notice that it’s slightly tough rather than soft, making it slightly harder to chew but not difficult to work with. It’s simply different. 

Polished rice, on the other hand, removes the outer coat that is found directly beneath the husk. It is run through a milling process in order to remove this component and the end result leaves you with white rice. 

Polished rice has reduced protein, moisture, niacin, biotin, and various other minerals because most of those minerals are found in the outer coat that is removed during the polishing process. Not to worry, polished rice still contains some nutrients. 

This process softens the rice, turning it white, and making it quite user-friendly. White rice is easy to make and easy to eat. The reduced protein levels make it desirable for a number of reasons. 

Your digestive system appreciates polished rice because it can be digested more easily than brown rice. Additionally, polished rice is easier to chew because it is soft and chewy naturally. Cooking polished rice also takes less time, although it’s not a significant difference. 

Uses for Polished Rice

There are so many things you can do with polished rice. It’s a foundational piece and it can easily be added to any meal, much like brown rice could be. 

Here are a few ideas of things you can do with polished rice. 

  • Sake
  • Steamed rice
  • Fried rice
  • Spanish rice and beans
  • Sticky rice
  • Add to casserole
  • Rice milk
  • Stir fry
  • Zongzi
  • Turn into a side dish
  • Make into a Mexican bowl
  • Add to any burrito compilation

These are just a few simple examples of how polished rice can be used but there are tons of things you can do with polished rice, or rice of any kind really. Rice is very multi-functional and it is completely inexpensive. 

Cooking Polished Rice

No matter what you do with your polished rice, it needs to be cooked before you can proceed to do further things. The primary process for cooking polished rice is a steaming-style process that will essentially give you steamed rice. 

This is the first step to creating other masterpieces using rice. Once you have cooked the rice you can then turn it into whatever you want to from there – whether you’re making fried rice or another dish, you must cook the rice first. 

So here are the basic steps to cooking polished rice. 

  1. You simply need your rice and a pot with some water. Butter and salt are also usually recommended for the process but are optional. 
  2. You need 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. This could vary based on your amount of rice but for the purposes of this instruction, we are making 1 cup of rice. 
  3. Bring your water to a boil, including 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of butter if you choose to. 
  4. Once the water is boiling, add the rice and stir well. 
  5. Reduce your heat to medium-low and cover the rice. If you are seeing a lot of steam escaping, you should reduce your heat. 
  6. Leave covered and cooking in this manner for 20 minutes. Do not lift the lid and do not stir. The steam under the lid is what is truly cooking that rice. 
  7. After 20 minutes, you can remove the lid, stir, and fluff with a fork. 

You shouldn’t have any excess water in the pan but if you do, just let it sit for a minute or two. Keep in mind, this is just your basic means to cook polished rice so you can proceed to use it however you want to. 

This is steamed rice. From here, you can simply enjoy your steamed white rice or you can turn it into another masterpiece. The nice thing is you can do whatever you like with it. 

Don’t forget that your rice must be cooked before you can use it any other way, for the most part. If you don’t cook your polished rice before using it, you may be sorely disappointed in the end result of your cooking adventure. 

Nutritional Overview of Rice

Rice has hearty nutrition that our bodies need. Many diets and healthy eating lifestyles use rice for side dishes and additives to meals because it hosts numerous minerals and nutrients within the rice and it is a low-calorie food to use. 

Rice is often filling and delicious. Even simple steamed rice has good flavor and doesn’t take a lot of effort to make. Did you know you could even make your steamed rice in the microwave or in a rice cooker if you have one at your disposal?

Rice is also extremely affordable so if you find yourself looking for healthy food items on a budget, rice is always a good option to keep in mind. With the lost cost and the versatility to make it numerous ways, rice is always a great option. 

Now, let’s discuss the nutritious content of polished rice a bit further. 

One of the best health properties of polished rice is the folic acid it naturally contains. Folic acid helps your body with a number of functions, including cell support. Polished rice is high in calcium and iron as well. 

Did you know that statistics show that eating rice with one meal a day will actually help you to eat less and eat healthier? Rice leaves you feeling full and satisfied with less per serving. It’s a low-calorie food and contains no cholesterol or trans-fat on its own. 

Rice is low in sodium, which is great for people looking for healthy eating habits. Sodium is often one of the most challenging things to adjust in your diet. With rice, you don’t have to worry about additives and sugars. It’s a simple, wholesome grain. 

Polished rice also contains fiber, folate, magnesium, and potassium which each have their own unique health benefits as well. Rice is considered a high-quality complex carbohydrate in your food pyramid. 

Overall, polished rice or brown rice is a great staple to add to your routine. Whether you use it regularly or even daily, it has a host of nutritional benefits that your body will love. If you are seeking a healthier lifestyle or weight loss, consider rice in your planning. 

Polishing Rice – The Process

Many people purchase their rice from the store either in original form or already polished to white rice. But you can actually polish your own rice if you would like to. The process is not a simple one and the best way to polish rice is with a polishing machine but we’re here to talk you through it all. 

The rice polishing process could actually take several days depending on how polished you want the rice to be when you are done. The ratio to which you polish rice might also vary depending on how you plan to use it. 

For instance, polishing rice for sake requires polishing the rice to a ratio of less than 70% but often up to less than 50%. Rice for typical consumption is typically polished to 90%, if that gives you any indication of the ratio. 

This ratio refers to how much of the grain is removed in the polishing process. So, for example, in everyday polishing that results in a 90% ratio, you are polishing off 10% of the grain, removing the husk and outer layers and making the rice smaller overall. 

Polishing rice to 90% is not terribly complicated. The lower the ratio you polish, the longer and more challenging the polishing process becomes. 

How to Polish Rice

Most people who polish their own rice purchase a rice polisher machine because it is much easier to work with and it simplifies the overall process. However, it’s also not so hard to polish your rice at home without a machine and that is what we are here to share with you. 

To polish your rice, you will need a large container as well as glucose or talc powder. You can use whichever you prefer for the process. Your container should have a lid that safely snaps on sealing it shut. 

As a side note, if you have a really good rice cooker you don’t need to polish your rice. Some of the high-end rice cookers actually polish the rice for you. But this is not the norm, most of the time you will need to polish it yourself or buy it polished. 

Here are the steps for you. 

  1. Start by rinsing the rice well using a colander. Rinse the rice 2-3 times. Rinse quickly and stir while rinsing so that it does not hold the water. 
  2. Use a kneading process with your hands on the rice. This will soften the bran.
    • You can do this step in the colander. Knead it with your knuckles, pressing down and also squeezing and moving the rice around.
    • If you are using a metal colander, you can press the rice around the edges. Do not be overly rough through the process. This process is called bruising. 
  3. Rinse the rice again twice. 
  4. Rub some rice between your fingers to check the texture. It should feel slightly coarse rather than smooth. If it is still smooth you should repeat the bruising and rinsing steps in steps 2 & 3 above. 
  5. This entire process should only take you about 10 minutes and is an effective way to polish rice efficiently. 

This is a simple process to polish your rice and it will not be as effective as if you use a rice polisher or simply purchase rice that has already been polished. However, this is an optimal solution if you need something to get your rice polished. 

This basic scenario will not polish your rice well enough for sake. You will need to follow a more intense process or invest in a rice polishing machine in order to do so but this process is effective for appreciating a better texture when you are simply cooking with your rice. 

Related Questions

We hope that you find this guide to be a useful resource for all of your questions regarding polishing rice and that you feel prepared to polish rice at home. Keep in mind that if you want lower ratios of polished rice, a machine is recommended for the process. 

Take a look at our question and answer section for additional material. 

What Does a Rice Polishing Machine Do?

The machine slowly buffs and polishes the rice kernels to change the texture and flavor as well as remove the bran from the rice kernels. 

How Can I Tell if Rice is Polished?

Natural, unpolished rice is brown. Any rice that is no longer brown has been through some form of polishing process. 

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