How to Cook Parboiled Rice

How to Cook Parboiled Rice - displayed in white bowl with a sprig of parsley

Cooking rice can be challenging. It’s not just that it takes a lot of time, but also that the process can be very tricky. First, you have to get all the water out, or you’ll end up with a sticky mess, and if you don’t use enough water, then your rice will burn on the bottom of your pan.

Parboiled rice solves this problem by cooking in less than half the time as brown rice while only using one-third more water than usual! This means no burnt bottoms and perfect fluffy grains every single time!

The secret behind parboiled rice is its ancient preparation method which involves soaking the paddy rice (from the rice paddy) before it’s milled. This process makes the husks easier to remove. The process also makes the rice last longer and improves the texture.

What is Parboiled Rice?

Parboiled rice is brown rice that has been steamed and then dried. It’s often called “converted” or “ready to cook” rice because it doesn’t take as long to cook on the stovetop as brown rice and provides more significant nutritional benefits than traditional white rice.

Cooked parboiled rice in a while bowl with a sprig of parsley on top

Is Parboiled Rice Healthy?

White rice has become a significant part of many Americans’ diets. However, it is low in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, phytochemicals that a whole grain provides its bran and germ intact. Parboiled rice is healthier than white rice and has a lower glycemic index (which means it won’t spike your blood sugar as much).

The claim is that nutrients are transferred from the bran into the starchy endosperm during the parboiling process. This process results in more fiber, vitamins, minerals. However, the white rice vs. brown rice dilemma is a complicated subject. So, I’ll say that they’ve created something less tasty by making more nutritious food. But if you’re used to eating white rice, then this will be much better for you!

Checkout this post from Healthline.com for a breakdown of the nutritional values of parboiled rice, white rice, and brown rice.

How Does Parboiled Rice Taste?

Parboiled rice has a slightly different flavor and texture than standard white rice. It’s a little nuttier and yellow.

What are the advantages of using parboiled rice?

Most parboiled rice is sold in the United States as a bulk product, which means it’s often found alongside regular long-grain white rice. Because of this, you might think that it isn’t any different than your usual Uncle Ben’s or Jasmine rice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Parboiled rice has some unique characteristics that make it far superior to regular “polished” white rice you’d find anywhere else. For example, cooking parboiled rice can take as little as half the time and uses only one-third more water!

In terms of texture, parboiled rice is firmer rice has a nuttier flavor than typical long-grain white rice. You’ll also notice that the grains tend to be a little more separate than your standard long-grain white rice—parboiled rice cooks in less time than rice that has not been parboiled.

What are the different types of parboiled rice?

There are several different types of parboiled rice available, with the most common being:

Converted Rice – This is basic parboiled rice that takes on a yellow hue and has a firmer texture. It holds up well when cooked but tends to stick together more than long-grain white rice. In addition, the flavor is nuttier relative to traditional white rice.

Instant Parboiled Rice – Instant parboiled rice is a pre-cooked variety of parboiled that has been dried then rehydrated using hot water. The resulting rice is similar to regular white rice, but it does have some of the nutritional benefits noted above.

Grains of Rice – Which Grain is Best for What?

Which type of rice is best for which dish? What are the different grain lengths? What is the difference in cooking times?

Long-grain grains of rice are stickier and don’t clump together as easily. As a result, they tend to be less starchy and a bit fluffier compared to their short-grained counterpart. Long-grain rice is used in traditional dishes such as paella, Jambalaya, and risotto.

Medium Grain Rice is stickier and, again, don’t clump together as easily. They’re considered the “in-between” length, somewhere between long-grain and short-grain rice. These grains are also a bit starchy when cooked, so they’re not ideal for dishes where you want to maintain a light texture.

Short Grain grains of rice have shorter, plumper grains that are stickier than long-grain and medium-grain rice. They’re often used to make sushi rice because they release their starch when cooked, which helps to give the traditionally sticky dish a smooth texture. Short grain kinds of rice also work well in risotto dishes.

Traditional Extra Long Grain Rice is longer than both regular white and brown rice. The grains are very long and slender, so they don’t clump together when cooked. They’re also starchy like regular long-grain rice. Extra-long grain rice is best used in Latin American or Cuban dishes such as paella or any dish that requires a lighter texture.

Grains of brown rice, parboiled rice, and white rice.

Instructions for Cooking Parboiled Rice

Tips for cooking parboiled rice:

  • The ideal ratio cooking ratio of water to rice is about 1: 1.5. You can adjust the proportion a bit higher or lower to suit your tastes, but you’ll find that this is just about right for most situations.
  • Parboiled rice requires rinsing before cooking. Place the uncooked rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it under cool water until the water coming over the rice is mostly clear. Some people skip this step if they don’t mind slightly less consistent texture and flavor, but I prefer rinsing my parboiled as it yields better results.
  • Alternatively, soak parboiled rice in water for 30 minutes before cooking it. This will help remove some of the excess starch from the grains to more consistent flavor and texture.
  • To cook, bring the water to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rinsed parboiled rice and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Stir the rice occasionally until it’s tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed for about 25 minutes.
  • Add extra flavor by using vegetable broth or chicken stock instead of water.
  • If you’re using savory ingredients such as onions or garlic, add them to the parboiled rice during the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
  • If you plan on using your parboiled rice in a dish such as fried rice, cook the grains until they’re almost done before adding additional ingredients and finish cooking after you’ve added them. The extra moisture absorbed by the grains will help prevent them from becoming too sticky.
  • It is essential to know that both regular long-grain and parboiled rice will release some additional liquid once they’re fluffed with a fork or spoon after being cooked. This is normal, and you should continue cooking the rice until all of the liquid has been absorbed. If you see liquid sitting in pools at the bottom of your pot, you’ll need to add a small amount of additional liquid and cook the rice until it’s absorbed.

Different Methods for Cooking

  • Slow Cooker Method – Cover the washed parboiled rice with water and add one tablespoon of olive oil or a tablespoon of butter to prevent sticking. Then turn your slow cooked on high and let it go for about two hours.
  • Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker – There are a few ways to cook this rice using your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. My favorite method is to add the washed parboiled rice, 2 cups of water, and ½ teaspoon of oil or butter. Set the IP for 18 minutes on high pressure, followed by a 10 minute NPR (Natural Pressure Release).
  • Rice Cooker Method – Although the nutrition facts and texture will be the same as if you cooked it on the stovetop, using a rice cooker is the easiest method. Just follow your machine’s instructions for white rice!
  • Microwave – For about three cups of parboiled rice, add one cup of cold water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave at full power for five minutes. Let stand covered for ten minutes before serving.

What Recipes are Better with Parboiled Rice?

There are thousands of recipes that can use parboiled rice as a substitute for white rice. It’s often used to make fried rice dishes and sticky rice dishes. Parboiled rice is a must for Jambalaya, paella, and sushi. Parboiled rice is also good in casseroles, rice bowls, rice salads, and desserts like rice pudding.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a healthy alternative to white rice, parboiled rice may be an option. Parboiling is the process of partially cooking brown or white grain in boiling water before it has been husked and removed from its natural protective layer (skins). The benefits include having more nutrients than other types of rice and being less prone to clumping together when cooked, making eating easier.

It’s essential that you cook your parboiled rice properly so it doesn’t get too sticky or mushy – this means using enough liquid and not overcooking it. You have many ways to prepare your parboiled rice, including on the stovetop, in a pressure cooker, microwaves, or even with a rice cooker. The easiest way to cook parboiled rice is in a pressure cooker, and it tastes just as good or better than cooking it on the stovetop. Parboiled rice will also hold up well when used in many recipes like fried rice or Jambalaya. Still, thousands of recipes can substitute white rice, including casseroles rice salads, and desserts like rice pudding.

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