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Why do we add salt when we're cooking rice? I know one reason is related to the boiling point of water but someone said it is also related to "Osmosis". What is the relation between adding salt and osmosis. How does it help cooking rice?

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    $\begingroup$ I never add salt when I cook rice. It depends on how you like your rice. I have gotten used to doing it the Asian way with a rice cooker, which cooks with a mixture of water and steam. With a little care it comes out perfect every time. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne May 27 '16 at 7:00
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne Hi. My question isn't about the rice itself (or how can we cook rice better). for cooking something, if you add salt, the boiling point of water will get higher and it cooks better (Taste of rice doesn't matter in this question). someone told me it also affects the osmosis. my question is how osmosis affect on cooking? what is the relation between osmosis and cooking? $\endgroup$ – titansarus May 27 '16 at 7:06
  • $\begingroup$ A Chinese or Japanese chef will throw the rice on the floor and make you do it again, if you add salt. Seriously, it's all about how you like it. There is absolutely no reason from a physical point of view to add salt. The boiling point won't go up that much, anyway. If that's what you want, then you need a pressure cooker. Rice in a pressure cooker will turn to mush. $\endgroup$ – CuriousOne May 27 '16 at 7:20
  • $\begingroup$ @CuriousOne My question is actually what are the effects (effectS) of adding salt when you're cooking rice or something else in water? I want to know all of effects (small or big effects). It is not about how it is better to cook. $\endgroup$ – titansarus May 27 '16 at 8:14
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    $\begingroup$ As worded, this question belongs on Seasoned Advice. A more appropriate question might be 'What are the physical effects of salt in boiling water with rice?'. $\endgroup$ – user121330 Feb 24 '17 at 23:28
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In osmosis, normally, water will move toward the side of membrane with higher concentration of salt, and this can happen with or without heat (though much faster with higher temp. because of the fast motion of molecules).
So my guesses are:
1. This can prevent over-bloating of the rice due to over-absorption of water, and perhaps prevent grain damage.
2. Since osmosis squeezes out water from lower to higher concentration, it might be able to 'squeeze' out the flavor molecules of the rice better, which might come along as water passes out..(but this might only happen if you don't put the salt at start, but wait until the rice bloats a bit, cause after all, what can you squeeze out of a dry grain with no water?)
3. Another effect (due to increased boiling point) is that water evaporates at a slower rate than without salt.

These are just guesses, I'm not sure I'm 100% correct.

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The amount of salt used for cooking is not nearly enough to have a physical effect on the process. The boiling point elevation is less than 1 degree and any osmosis effect will be small (especially when compared to the brine used in pickling). The purpose of adding salt is for flavor.

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