What is parboiled/converted rice?

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While the terms “parboiled” and “converted” conjure up images of modern convenience rice products like microwavable rice or quick cooking rice, parboiled rice is actually something quite different.

Parboiling is a very old technique (it has been used for over 2,000 years) which involves soaking the rice grains while they’re still in the hull (aka the paddy), and then boiling or steaming them. This process provides multiple benefits:

   1. It makes the rice easier to mill.

   2. It partially gelatinizes the starch in the rice grains, making them firmer and shinier. The grains are less likely to stick together on the plate.

   3. It imparts a nuttier flavor.

   4. It makes the rice harder to overcook and less likely to get mushy when reheated or kept hot on a steam table. This is why restaurants love it.

   5. It transfers some vitamins and nutrients from the bran to the endosperm (the part of the rice grain we eat). Pearled rice (rice that has had its bran removed) that has been parboiled is actually healthier than other pearled rice.  It’s still not quite as healthy as whole grain rice, which retains the bran and thus has more fiber and a few more vitamins.

Parboiled rice is extremely popular with restaurants, so you’ve probably eaten it several times without realizing it. The one thing to be aware of when substituting parboiled rice for plain rice in a recipe is that parboiling can slightly increase rice’s cooking time (because the grains are firmer), so plan accordingly.

We currently offer parboiled (actually par-steamed) Chinese black rice.

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2 Responses to “What is parboiled/converted rice?”

  1. 1
    Tuan Vo says:


    I am interested getting a few hundred pounds of black rice. Where is your black rice country of origin? Is it organic? What is the shipping cost to San Jose, CA? Do you have discount for bulk order?

  2. 2
    Matthew says:

    Hi Tuan,

    Our black rice is conventionally grown, not certified organic. I’ve passed your other questions along to our customer service team. They’ll be reaching out to you via e-mail with information on bulk pricing for the quantities you’re asking about.

    Marx Foods