In our family, rice, not potatoes, is King of the Starches. This is because my husband grew up in places like Hawaii, Guam, and the Marshall Islands, eating rice every day of his life.
When I started stocking up on various foods, I knew that rice would be a big part of my starches. Potatoes, not so much. Rice is just as versatile as potatoes and has the added advantage of coming in numerous varieties, each with their own particular flavor, scent, and texture.
Parboiled rice was new to me when I first saw it on a food storage company website. At first, I thought it was somehow pre-cooked rice, maybe similar to instant, but then I bought a #10 can, began cooking it, and now I’m hooked.
The process of creating parboiled rice
When rice is harvested, each grain is inside a hull. That hull is removed and brown rice is the result. We get white rice when the rice is processed even further when the bran is removed. Parboiled rice is processed completely differently.
The parboiling process occurs when the just-harvested rice is soaked, steamed, and then dried with the hull still on each grain. This allows the grain of rice to absorb the nutrients in the hull and bran and it gives the rice a firmer texture. Once this has been completed, then the hull is removed. The rice ends up having a pretty light yellow color, although once cooked, the color of the rice is more of a creamy white.
Parboiled rice will never be sticky rice. It has a much drier and fluffier consistency.
Using the rice in meals
I’ve found that parboiled rice is excellent in recipes because it stays firm throughout the cooking process. A couple of years ago I was making a chicken and rice soup, and noticed that the rice never got mushy, no matter how long I cooked the soup or warmed up leftovers.
Leftover parboiled rice is nice to have on hand because, again, it doesn’t become mushy and can be added to other recipes or reheated as a side dish.
Parboiled rice is an excellent type of rice to store for long-term storage. It has more nutrients than brown rice, but because the bran has been removed, it won’t become rancid as brown rice will. The rice should be stored in air-tight containers with an oxygen absorber or, for smaller amounts, stored in canning jars which have had the air removed via a vacuum system like Food Saver. Store all food, not just parboiled rice, in a cool, dry, and dark location.
A recipe for you
I created several different recipes using parboiled rice, and this one is extremely simple, filling, and comforting on chilly days.
Herbed Chicken & Rice Soup
5 c. water
2 T. chicken soup base or 3 T. chicken bouillon
1/2 c. parboiled rice
1 T. Italian seasoning
1/4 t. garlic powder, or 1 garlic clove, crushed
1 t. dehydrated chopped onion, or 1/4 c. fresh onion, chopped
1/4 c. chicken TVP or 1 1/2 c. chopped, cooked chicken
In a medium-size saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat 20-25 minutes or until rice is fully cooked.
Where to buy it
Now, there’s the rub. It’s not so easy to find. Mahatma sells parboiled rice in 2 and 5-pound packages. I found this listing on the Costco website. If you are shopping in regular grocery stores, the store manager might be able to order the rice for you.
If you’ve been hesitant about stocking up on white rice because of its limited nutritional value and on brown rice because of its limited shelf life, perhaps parboiled rice is what you’ve been looking for.
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