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I have recently been using raw rice at my home. I have noticed that the non-parboiled rice sticks to each other while parboiled rice does not given the same amount of cooking time.

My questions:

  1. Why is rice parboiled?
  2. How does parboiling change rice chemically?
  3. Is it possible to get (unprocessed) cooked rice not stick with each other when cooked?
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up vote 14 down vote accepted

The following excerpt answers questions 1 and 2. Additionally it reduces the cooking time for the parboiled rice.

Also known as converted rice, parboiled rice has been pressure-steamed and then dried in its natural outer husk (which is later removed). This process hardens the starch in the grains so they remain firmer, less sticky, and separate when cooked. It also forces the vitamins and minerals from the outer layer of the grains into the endosperm, which is the part we eat. This makes parboiled rice a more nutritious option than regular (unenriched) white rice, which doesn't retain any of the goodness of the nutrient-rich husk.

There are several techniques you can use to prevent unprocessed cooked rice from sticking to each other:

  • Use medium to long grain rice.
  • Rinse the rice until the rinsing water is completely clear.
  • Use the Boil and Steam method to cook the rice. In this method boil the rice for 5-10 minutes. Then pour off the excess water and steam the rice for an additional 10 minutes. This method of cooking the rice reduces the most starch on the outside of the rice which is what causes the sticking.

Source: The Science of Cooking Rice

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lol yes, I meant raw rice when cooked, not raw rice as such. Thanks for the clarification and the excellent answer! – One Face Mar 30 at 16:00
Yeah, no. 1 tip is rinse before cooking. I put mine in a tub of water and agitate it quite roughly giving the grains get a nice polish, then rinse till clear. I only really use Basmati rice now, it never turns out sticky. I only use absorption method though, and microwave cooking makes it quick and simple. – Chris A Mar 30 at 23:36

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