A recent experiment has shown that perhaps the most common method of cooking rice — boiling it in a pan until the water has steamed out — can leave traces of poisonous arsenic.
While it is generally accepted that arsenic is removed from rice during the cooking process, the experiment’s findings suggest that this only occurs when rice is soaked overnight.
Andy Meharg, professor of biological sciences at Queen’s University Belfast, tested three ways of cooking rice for the BBC program ‘Trust Me, I’m a Doctor’, to see whether it affected levels of arsenic in the finished product.
Professor Meharg first used the most common method of boiling two parts water in one part rice, where the water is “steamed out” during cooking. He found this left most of the arsenic intact in the finished rice.
When Meharg used five parts water to one part rice and washed away the excess water, arsenic content was nearly cut in half, while in the third method, in which he soaked the rice overnight, levels of the toxin were reduced by 80%.
Therefore, the safest method of cooking rice is to soak it overnight, then wash and rinse it until the water is clear, before draining it well and boiling in a saucepan, with a ratio of five parts water to one part rice.
That way you’ll be more likely to enjoy a healthy, delicious meal than die a horrible death from arsenic poisoning. Bon appétit!
Source: BBC News