What’s the Point of Parboiled Rice?

Converted rice, also known as parboiled rice, is processed by vacuum drying and then steaming the grain.

Some hounds aren't fans. "To me, this isn't really rice," says SocksManly, whose wife likes to cook with parboiled rice. "I think she likes it because it doesn't stick together. I think I hate it because it doesn't stick together," he says. "It always seems dry, more chewy, and not soft and moist and whatnot. I just feel like it's an inferior product." But he's open to being proven wrong.

So is there a point to parboiled rice?

paulj says that there are many varieties of rice; some stick when cooked, some become fluffy and well-separated. "None are inherently superior, though most cultures have distinct preferences," paulj says. "Some cultures use different types for different purposes. One way to look at parboiling is that it just adds to that variety."

If your ideal rice is soft, white, and sticky, parboiled rice will never meet your expectations, paulj says. But for those with a different sense of rice aesthetics, parboiled rice might be just the thing. "Indian rice is more often a long grain, cooked light and fluffy, with loose grains," paulj says. "In Latin America rice is often cooked pilaf style, fried initially with aromatics, which helps keep the grains separate."

rcallner thinks parboiled rice is handy when time is of the essence. "Parboiled rice is great when you forgot to precook rice for soup and just want to throw it in, or want no-fail paella, or other things where the texture isn't that important but instant cooking is," rcallner says.

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