Lean how to make rice water (rice starch water) easily with just rice and water. Due to its starch component, it is often used as a natural thickener in Korean stews and other dishes. It also gets rid of the fish odor and good for your skin and hair.

Rice water (Rice starch water) is often used in Korean soups and stews.

Occasionally you may find an interesting ingredient called “rice starch water (ssal-tte-mul, 쌀뜨물)”, or some calls it rice water, in my Korean soup or stew recipes, such as in Doenjang Jjigae.

Rice water is basically the water that you used to rinse the rice. Due to its starch component, it is often used as a natural thickener in stews or other dishes. It also adds depth to the flavor of the dish.

Not only as a thickener, rice water also helps get rid of fish odor. I can’t explain scientifically how rice starch water reduces fish odor, but many Koreans use it to treat the fish smell. For example, see my Braised Mackerel and Radish recipe to learn more.

Besides using in cooking, rice water offers other benefits.

  • Anti-aging for your skin
  • Condition and repair the damaged hair
  • Mild fertilizer for your garden

Making rice water is very simple. You don’t have to make an extra effort to create it as long as you are cooking rice to serve with your Korean dish. You will need to first wash the rice prior to cooking anyway. All you need to do is to collect the rinsed water.

How to make rice water

  • Pour some water over uncooked rice in a bowl.
  • Run your fingers through the rice a couple times to rinse the rice, then drain the water. Discard this first rinsed water.
  • Swirl the rice around for 15 seconds with your fingers to loosen the starch coating on the rice grains.
  • Add the amount of water the recipe needs and rinse the rice. You will see the water turn milky.
  • Pour the second rinsed water into another bowl and reserve it for your cooking needs.
  • Continue to rinse your rice a couple more times before cooking it by your usual rice cooking method.

NOTE: Rice starch water can be stored in the refrigerator up to a week. The starch will settle to the bottom, so shake it before you use it.

Recipes Using Rice Water

Rice Starch Water (Rice Water)

How to make rice water (rice starch water)

Rice water (or rice starch water) is the water that you used to rinse the rice. Due to its starch component, it is often used as a natural thickener in stews or other dishes. It also helps get rid of the fish odor.
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup rice
  • water

Instructions 

  • Pour some water over uncooked rice in a bowl. Run your fingers through the rice a couple times to rinse the rice, then drain the water. Discard this first rinsed water.
    Water is poured on a bowl of uncooked rice.
  • Swirl the rice around for 15 seconds with your fingers to loosen the starch coating on the rice grains.
    A hand is swirling the rice in a.bowl.
  • Add the amount of water the recipe needs and rinse the rice (I used about 4 cups). You will see the water turn milky.
    A hand is swirling the rice in water.
  • Pour the second rinsed water into another bowl and reserve it for your cooking needs.
    Rice water (Rice starch water) is often used in Korean soups and stews.
  • Continue to rinse your rice a couple more times before cooking it by your usual rice cooking method.
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