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tl;dr Do the cooking time, behavior, taste, and texture of parboiled rice differ significantly enough from non-converted rice such that a simple substitution will yield undesirable results?

I accidentally purchased a large bag of parboiled basmati rice. I make a variety of dishes with basmati rice, but I've never tried any of them with the parboiled version. Can I just use the parboiled rice in place of the non-parboiled? Or do I need to make various adjustments to cooking times, steps in a recipe, methods, etc? And will the results (taste, texture) be different from non-parboiled even with said adjustments?

For example, here is my basic basmati rice recipe, which I make in a pressure cooker. Will this recipe work with parboiled?

  • Rinse 1 cup rice until it runs clear
  • Let drain ~15 minutes in colander
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil or ghee in pressure cooker
  • When hot, sauté the rice for a minute or so
  • Add 1.5 cups of water or vegetable stock
  • Close pressure cooker lid and wait for full (high) pressure
  • Manually pressure cook for four minutes.
  • Let pressure come down naturally
  • Fluff and serve.

Also, the directions on the bag say to soak the parboiled rice for an hour before cooking. I don't typically have the time for this: the whole point of rice is that it's easy and quick to make. But plenty of recipes using basmati, including ones for just plain basmati by itself (i.e., white rice with no added meats or veggies, as in the preparation above), ask for the rice to be soaked, and I never do; I just wash it and let it drain for about 15 minutes. Is soaking de rigeur for parboiled?

Finally, I'm worried that cooking times for more elaborate dishes will be thrown off by the parboiled rice, resulting in unevenly-cooked mixtures of rice, veggies, spices, and (on the rare occasions I cook it) meat; and that the resulting dish will be significantly altered in taste and texture as a result of using the parboiled rice instead of white.

Are these concerns valid?

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    Since parboiled rice has been soaked, steamed, dried and hull removed, wouldn't it be better to skip the first two steps? Have you tried that? – Giorgio Feb 19 '17 at 3:39
  • I've not tried anything. I have not cooked with parboiled rice before. But hull removed is hardly unique to parboiled.... – verbose Feb 19 '17 at 10:13
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Parboiled rice should be cooked more or less the same way, but may come out a little less sticky than regular rice. It should taste exactly the same. Your recipes should work just fine.

I would probably do a trial run with a quick batch of the plain rice as you would normally do it just to make sure since parboiling as a process is different in different parts of the world.

Good luck!

  • Thanks, this is reassuring. What is your source for the info? Personal experience? It would be helpful to know. Also, I take it you mean that the pre-soaking is not needed either? – verbose Feb 20 '17 at 23:59
  • Both personal experience and some more authoritative sources online. I also looked at recipes that call for parboiled rice and they look identical to how I would cook unconverted rice. I wouldn't presoak it. I skip that step usually myself. Parboiling is meant to recapture some of the lost nutrients from the shelling/de-husking process while maintaining the white rice consistency. – CMB92 Feb 21 '17 at 0:39
  • I will wait a day or two to see if there are any other answers before accepting :-) – verbose Feb 21 '17 at 0:41

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