Is Parboiled Rice Pre-cooked?
Parboiled rice is rice that has been soaked, steamed under pressure and dried, before milling. After drying, it undergoes the normal milling process, to remove the husk, bran and germ to become ‘white’ parboiled rice. Brown parboiled rice has the bran and germ intact.
“Converted” rice is a term trademarked by the American company Uncle Ben’s for its version of parboiled rice.
About 50% of the world’s rice production is parboiled. The parboil process causes gelatinization of the starch in the rice grain and forces some nutrients, especially thiamin (B1), from the bran into the grain (endosperm). The grains become translucent, less brittle and the colour changes from white to pale yellow or amber.
Parboiled rice is not pre-cooked. It’s somewhat harder than regular white rice, because the process of parboiling hardens the starch in the endosperm and so it takes a little bit longer to cook and does not stick to the pan during cooking. The grains remain fluffy and separate after cooking, so it’s not suitable for making risotto. Parboiled rice is nutritionally superior to white regular rice and has 80 percent of the nutrients found in brown rice.
‘Brown’ parboiled rice is also available and it has the bran and germ, intact.