Most parboiled rice is sold milled and polished, but in specialty stores you can find parboiled brown rice. For parboiling, after the harvest, rice is left in its tough outer husk and boiled briefly, often under pressure, then dried. The husk is then removed. The brown rice that results has a different appearance and nutritional profile from non-parboiled brown rice, and slightly different cooking characteristics.
During parboiling, B vitamins and other nutrients move from the bran layer into the center or endosperm of the rice, while oils move out into the bran layer. Consequently, parboiled brown rice is somewhat oily. (If stored in a paper bag, it leaves a noticeable oily trace on the paper.) Since oils don’t keep well, this rice should be stored in a very cool place, or even in the refrigerator, and in any case not kept for long.
When cooked, grains of parboiled brown rice are bouncy and separate, tender yet firm. They have none of the chewiness we normally associate with cooked brown rice. The parboiled brown rices we have tried are a pretty pale yellow beige color when cooked. The grains fatten as they cook, so they look wider rather than longer after cooking. We like the taste and texture of this rice very much.
Rinse the rice well in cold water and drain; repeat until the water runs clear.
Place the rice in a large wide heavy pot with the water and optional salt. Bring to a vigorous boil. After 30 seconds, cover and lower the heat to low. Cook, covered, for 45 minutes; after 35 to 40 minutes, remove the lid, stir very briefly to bring the bottom grains to the top, then cover again and continue cooking. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
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