Parboiled rice, also called Ukda Chawal in Hindi and converted rice in English, is rice that is partially boiled in the husk. There are three steps involved in the process which are soaking, steaming and drying. This process makes the rice nutritious, changes its texture, and makes it easier to process by hand.
The process itself is almost a couple thousand centuries old and is believed to have originated in Persia. However, it removes nutrients like thiamine from the bran to the endosperm, which means that parboiled white rice is nutritionally similar (80-85%) to brown rice. Currently, rice is parboiled in many countries such as India, Malaysia, Nepal, Myanmar, Spain, Switzerland, Guinea, Italy, Thailand, Bangladesh, etc.
The basic process
The parboiling process begins before the dehulling process.
Step 1 → The grain is soaked in water.
Step 2 → The soaked grain is steamed.
Step 3 → The steamed rice is dried to husk it.
Steaming helps rice absorb nutrients and change the composition of the starch, making it firm and less sticky than normal white rice.
The starch in rice is gelatinized and stable, making it harder and more glassy.
Rice is rich in niacin and has a high level of vitamin B-6. This helps us metabolize our food into energy and helps produce hormones.
It takes much less time to cook.
Easier to digest and much better in terms of nutritional quality compared to raw rice.
It has long standing times, as it remains fluffy after cooking for a long time.
It absorbs more water demonstrating a higher yield than ordinary rice.
It is rich in carbohydrates and has less fiber. Carbohydrates do not cause high blood sugar levels.
Rice is almost 2-3 percent calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium if consumed daily.
It is excellent in terms of treating diarrhea in children.
Uses in the kitchen
There are several uses for parboiled rice in cooking. Food is tastier, healthier, and richer when cooked in this rice.
The dish (with this rice) can be spicy and bland, but you won’t feel a difference with the taste.
The rice could be used to make dishes like Idli, Dosa, and Khichdi.
Parboiled Khichdi is very tasty if eaten with pickles, raitas and other acidic products.
Washing the rice with both palms in a rotating motion is a better way to go, as it avoids breaking the grain.
The rice is wonderful and tastes great with vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
How to store
Steamed rice has different properties and therefore requires special attention. It should always be stored in airtight containers and the storage time should not exceed more than 2 months as it could become rancid and smelly. The container should be placed in a cool and dry place. Cooked rice can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 3-4 days.
Consuming parboiled rice is healthy and beneficial. However, it should be consumed in limited quantities as its properties differ from regular rice.