Rice is typically rinsed before cooking to remove excess starch. Rice produced in the US is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, and rinsing will result in a loss of nutrients. Rice may be rinsed repeatedly until the rinse water is clear to improve the texture and taste.
Rice may be soaked to decrease cooking time, conserve fuel, minimize exposure to high temperature, and reduce stickiness. For some varieties, soaking improves the texture of the cooked rice by increasing expansion of the grains. Rice may be soaked for 30 minutes up to several hours.
Brown rice may be soaked in warm water for 20 hours to stimulate germination. This process, called germinated brown rice (GBR),activates enzymes and enhances amino acids including gamma-aminobutyric acid to improve the nutritional value of brown rice. This method is a result of research carried out for the United Nations International Year of Rice.
Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming, and absorbs water during cooking. With the absorption method, rice may be cooked in a volume of water equal to the volume of dry rice plus any evaporation losses. With the rapid-boil method, rice may be cooked in a large quantity of water which is drained before serving. Rapid-boil preparation is not desirable with enriched rice, as much of the enrichment additives are lost when the water is discarded. Electric rice cookers, popular in Asia and Latin America, simplify the process of cooking rice. Rice (or any other grain) is sometimes quickly fried in oil or fat before boiling (for example saffron rice or risotto); this makes the cooked rice less sticky, and is a cooking style commonly called pilaf in Iran and Afghanistan or biryani in India and Pakistan .