Many different kinds of rice are available for various cooking needs. Converted rice is a convenient and versatile pre-treated variety. Also known as parboiled rice, it is brown rice that has been soaked, steamed, and made to taste like white rice.
The vapor processing method of converting rice involves placing unhusked, whole grains of long-grain rice into water to soak. Following the soak, they are pressure steamed, which allows the flavors and water soluble nutrients from the husk and bran to enter the grain itself. After this treatment, the grains are dried, milled, and packaged for sale. The resulting beige rice has the flavor of white rice, and similarly becomes fluffy when cooked.
Converted rice also contains less starch than white rice, an appealing trait for people reducing their intake of carbohydrates. It is faster to cook than brown rice, since it does not contain the bran coating, but it still takes a slightly longer amount of time to cook than plain white rice. The texture, unlike the chewiness of brown rice, is also more appealing to many people.
One useful purpose for this type of rice is adding nutrients into the diet. Many people, particularly young children, do not enjoy the taste of nutty brown rice. Parboiled rice, which contains the nutrients of brown rice with the flavorless attribution of white rice, can be substituted for a more palatable alternative. To substitute converted for brown rice, equal amounts can be used for most recipes.
Converted rice is rich in protein, vitamins, and other nutrients, particularly magnesium, thiamine, and carbohydrates. Its high mineral content makes it a good source of iron, and it is also a good source of amino acids.
In culinary use, this rice can be used in dishes with meat, vegetables, soups, fish, and salads. Like other kinds of rice, it can also be cooked with sauce, curry, vinegar, and other additives according to taste. It is also a popular choice in stir fry dishes.
Several brands of parboiled rice are partially or fully cooked prior to sale. This makes the rice even easier and more convenient to prepare. The term "parboil" itself is short for "partially boiled," meaning that the rice is somewhat precooked as it is processed. The parboiling method also sterilizes rice from possible contaminants, such as insect eggs or animal droppings. It also provides it with a longer shelf life.