Rice is something of a kitchen staple for me. My pantry is never without a bag of white rice (I really love the Basmati variety) or a small bag of brown rice (when I want to eat a little healthier). Since I just love cooking Asian food, it has become a necessary part of my kitchen. I mean, I can’t go a full week without making some delicious Chinese fried rice. Just thinking about a big bowl of spicy chicken biryani rice makes me want to immediately stop typing and just make one in the kitchen.
There are so many types of rice varieties around the world, cooked by people who can’t get enough of it, ranging from the Italians that love using Arborio rice grains for their risottos to Asians, who prefer long grain Jasmine rice. It is a very important part of the world’s culinary heritage, and with all these many different varieties, it is understandable that some of you are a little confused about them all.
One rice variety that has always had many people scratching their heads over is parboiled rice. While this looks a bit like any variety of rice, it has some key differences that you should definitely know about. And before we learn about the various ways to cook parboiled rice, let me first explain what this nutritious rice is.
Parboiled rice is a type of rice grain where the rice is partially boiled in the husk. The creation of parboiled rice (sometimes called “converted rice”) is a three-step process that includes soaking, steaming, and drying. Almost half of the world’s rice production is parboiled. One of the most significant benefits of this is that the texture of the rice becomes more superior (less sticky, and much fluffier), plus it retains a lot of its nutritional value.
Parboiled rice has about 80 percent of the nutrients that are found in brown rice, so it is definitely a big winner when it comes to added good nutrition and vitamins!
However, just because it’s pre-soaked and steamed does not mean that parboiled rice is already cooked and ready to be eaten. Hence, the next section will discuss the various ways you can cook parboiled rice.
The rice cooker is still the easiest way to cook a perfect serving of rice. Not all rice cookers can give you the same consistency and texture, so it is very important to get a good quality rice cooker for yourself.
If you are really serious about your rice and have deep pockets, then go for the high-end Japanese brands. This one in particular, the Zojirushi Micom Rice Cooker and Warmer NS-TSC10, is the gold standard when it comes to rice cookers. It has a variety of cooking options that let you play with the rice’s consistency and texture. As an added bonus, you can also bake a cake or steam some sweet wares with it. However, if the price is a bit steep for you, then you can get a mid-priced one instead and still get excellent results.
- Rice cooker.
- Parboiled rice.
Make sure that you clean your rice cooker’s rice bin first before anything else. The, put the rice in the rice cooker and prepare your water. Parboiled rice generally has a ratio of 2 ¼ cups of water to a cup of rice, but it is always a good idea to check the cooking instructions on the packaging first.
After pouring in the required amount of water, just hit start and the rice cooker is ready to go. If you are using a high-end model, it is likely there will be more buttons to choose from. Just look for the white rice option, and you will be fine.
While most chefs around the world would shake their fists in disgust if you attempted to use a microwave, the device is actually a decent way to cook parboiled rice. So, if you do not know your way around the kitchens or your only culinary experience is tossing packets into the microwave or reheating yesterday’s pepperoni pizza, this method might just be what you need.
- A microwave.
- A colander.
- Microwave safe bowl (large enough to accommodate the rice when it expands).
- Parboiled rice.
First, clean and rinse your parboiled rice. Use the colander and let it soak under a running faucet for about 30 seconds. Then shake off any excess water before proceeding to the next step. Put your rice in the microwave-safe bowl and put the required water in it (Use the water to rice ratio printed on the packaging).
Next, insert the bowl into your microwave. Don’t cover the bowl with anything. Hit the highest setting and push the timer to about ten minutes. After ten minutes, switch your microwave to a low setting and continue cooking the parboiled rice for about fifteen minutes. Open the microwave and carefully take out the bowl (Use a pan holder for this one, as the bowl can get quite hot). Fluff your rice with a fork and serve.
- Pro Tip: If your rice is still a bit hard, cook it in the microwave for a bit more. Just keep checking it to avoid overcooking.
The pot is the more traditional way to cook parboiled rice. While I’ve mainly used a rice cooker for many years, I cherish the time when I was a little girl at my grandma’s house cooking a pot of rice. Some chefs claim that rice cooked in a pot tastes better. In fact, the best sushi chefs in Japan still cook rice in the traditional way. So if you want to get your hands a little bit dirty, then cooking parboiled rice in a pot might just strike your fancy.
Items that you will need:
- A big pot with a lid (enough to accommodate the rice when it expands).
Using the water-ratio label in the packaging as your guide, combine the rice with the water in the pot. Use a medium setting on your stove and cover the pot. Bring this to the boil and reduce the heat to about medium. Wait for about twenty minutes and check whether all of the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff your rice and get ready to serve.
Rice is an ingredient that is both near and dear to me. My love for Asian cooking ensures that rice contributes a large amount of my diet. You might call me a rice-fanatic when you realize how much of the stuff I consume. Why, I’m probably going to make some rice balls the moment my fingers leave the keyboard.
Making this article was great fun and a rewarding experience for me. Many people just know how to make rice in a rice cooker, so it is a treat to share some of my knowledge about the other ways of doing it.
Do you have any stories about parboiled rice that you would like to share with us? Please write about them in the space below and kindly share this list with any of your friends and family who’d like to learn a thing or two about cooking parboiled rice. Keep learning and happy eating!