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Yesterday my husband (Mr Rice: he can eat rice morning afternoon night) brought this article to my notice https://www.yahoo.com/news/apparently-weve-cooking-rice-wrong-170910394.html
It talks about how to reduce the ingestion of arsenic into our system by the way we cook rice. Why Rice?
Arsenic is a common mineral found in soil and water so plants are contaminated with it but for some reason rice takes up more of this poisonous chemical.
Arsenic found in seafood is organic. It is less harmul and is easily eliminated from the body.
Inorganic Arsenic on the other hand is found in the soil. It is harmful and not easily eliminated from the body.
Organic rice is also implicated because being organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s arsenic free it just means it has less pesticides but the natural offender arsenic is still there.
Because of it’s high content in Rice, it has been found to contaminate rice products including baby cereals.
Arsenic has been implicated in the cause of bladder and skin cancer, diabetes, and developmental issues in children
Arsenic is water soluble so the way we cook rice can reduce the amount we ingest.
What can we do?
The way we learnt to cook rice was to wash, Parboil, wash and cook. The reason we were told for the parboiling stage was to reduce the starch content.
That is possible but in addition to that as explained from the article in the link above it also helps to reduce the arsenic content.
It is important to note that we were probably doing the parboiling wrong in most homes. Because when we parboil, we don’t add adequate amount of water as stated in the article and we let the water almost dry up before washing a second time which means the arsenic is still there.
It was probably the ‘mama-puts’ aka road side food sellers that were doing something close to the right thing. I don’t know if they actually parboil but I noticed they boil their rice with a lot of water and when it’s done they sieve out the excess water.
How do I know this? We grew on home food. Cooking all sorts of meals was a regular at home. So you can guess that mama-put was a no no.
But when there is a restriction from something your curiosity gets the better of you. Plus my aunties who used to live with us back then used to buy some from University of Lagos (UNILAG) where they schooled.
Needless to say mama put tastes so good with a different twist because I assure you home food is awesome too.
When I got to Medical School I found myself having mama-put once in a while that’s how I noticed the way they cook their rice ? hmmmm long story abi??
Anyway according to the article this is the best way to cook rice
- Wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear
- Soak in water overnight (about 1 part of rice to 5 to 10 parts of water)
- In the morning wash again and boil with the same quantity of water or more.
- When the rice is done sieve out the excess water and serve.
- Wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear.
- Parboil rice with a lot of water 1 part rice to 5- 10 parts of water.
- When it begins to boil. Turn off heat and sieve out excess water.
- Wash again, then add water like above and cook till the rice is done then sieve out the excess water and serve.
Because Method 1 requires you to plan ahead, you can do method 2 if you don’t have time.
I believe that the aim is not to allow the water dry up in the rice.
How does this affect us?
Rice is a common meal in Asia and Africa. What do we do with our jollof rice and fried rice because white rice won’t have much of a problem with the advised way of cooking.
Here is what I would suggest and what would do
- Reduce the consumption of rice in my home to max two or three times a week. (sorry hubby)
- Fill up the plate with veggies. Less rice more veggies.
- Cook my white Rice with method 1 or 2 above.
- Use the overnight soaking method for jollof rice and fried rice up to the parboiling stage since these recipes require the water to dry out in the rice.
- If I forget to soak overnight I can still use the second method right up to the parboiling stage. Keep a close eye so that the rice doesn’t cook past the stage needed to keep your jollof rice crisp.
I haven’t tried these suggestions yet. I will update you when I do. Particularly with the jollof rice and fried rice.
Below are more sources of my info. You can Read more.
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Till next time, Stay healthy.