Rice has been a food staple for centuries. After harvesting, the grains are processed according to marketing and preparation specifications. The outer hull is removed for brown rice and the outer hull and bran for white rice, sacrificing some nutrients in the process.
Parboiling, or precooking, is done before the hulls are removed, returning some of those nutrients to the endosperm, or the soft white insides of the rice grains. This results in a firmer, less sticky rice that cooks in shorter time. You can cook parboiled rice on a stove top or in a cooker designed for that purpose.
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Things You'll Need
Large heavy saucepan, rice cooker or rice steamer
- Measure the correct amount of water and add it to the saucepan.
- Add the butter and salt if desired.
- Place the saucepan on a burner set to high heat and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Add the rice to the saucepan when the water reaches a full boil, and give it a good stir.
- Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Cook the rice for 15 to 20 minutes or until a single grain is soft enough to bite through but still holds its firm shape.
- Fluff the rice lightly with the fork before serving.
Rice Cooker or Steamer
- Follow the manufacturer's directions to cook the parboiled rice in a cooker or steamer, which generally advise to add the ingredients all at once before turning on the vessel.
- Add the water and rice to the cooker, along with butter and salt, if desired.
- Cover the cooker and turn it on.
- Fluff the cooked rice lightly with a fork before serving.
- A rice cooker is designed to sense when the rice is properly cooked, turn itself off and keep the rice warm until you're ready to serve it.
- The cooking ratio of water to parboiled rice depends on whether you cook it on the stove top or in a cooker. Use a ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup rice in a saucepan on the stove, and 2 1/2 cups water to 1 cup rice in a cooker.
- If you're watching your salt intake, don't add salt to the cooking water.
- The firmer structure of cooked parboiled rice lends itself well to dishes that will be frozen, as its texture doesn't deteriorate over time. It's also a good choice for rice salads, as it can stand up to the extra moisture from the dressing.
- Add flavor to parboiled rice by cooking it in beef, chicken or vegetable broth.
- Be sure to use a large enough saucepan with high sides, as rice tends to boil over if set over too high a heat setting.