Converted Rice is Processed, Quicker Cooking, and More Nutritious than White.
Converted Rice
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Converted Rice is any Rice that has been partially boiled (Par-Boiled) in the rice husk. The process of par-boiling, partially pre-cooking, has been known for thousands of years in India and the sub-continent. Today roughly 50% of the world’s rice crop is converted through some method of either steaming or par-boiling.

The benefits or conversion are that the rice becomes easier to process manually, has an improved nutritional profile as compared to White Rice, and it cooks more quickly while being easier to handle (firmer and less sticky) in the kitchen. It is also “fluffier” and tastes more like White Rice than Brown Rice. It is an easier chew without the chewy texture of Brown Rice.

The major drawbacks are that Converted Rice has a yellowish color, a different, some say “pitted” texture, and that Converted Rice is low in B Vitamins.  Some consumers find the converted Rice kernels harder and glassier, which can be corrected for, if it bothers you or your diners, by adding small amounts of Whole Milk to your Converted Rice.

Production

Rice is typically converted in 3 basic steps: soaking (36 hours in clean water for a 30-35% moisture content), steaming/boiling (about 20 hours until it almost splits), and then drying, after which time it is milled. 

Converting, especially modern converting using the Huzenlaub Process (that was invented in 1910 and employs vacuum) is especially good at retaining thiamine by pushing it from the Rice Bran into the Rice Endosperm. Commercial Converted Rice is frequently fortified with the addition of minerals such as Zinc and Iron. The par-cooking also partially sterilizes the rice from most biological contamination, such as insect eggs or animal droppings which gives it a longer Shelf Life.

Purchasing

The best Converted Rice should be yellow beige in color and look like the middle ground between White Rice and Brown Rice, which it is. White Converted Rice indicates over-processing and is likely less nutritious and less sticky.

When comparing product labels, you should choose a converted rice that is originally processed from long-grain brown versions, as this indicates the best quality. Organic versions of the rice are also widely available, but keep in mind that such products might cost more. Brown Converted Rice, usually indicates that the rice was not par-cooked for long enough and it may take longer to cook at home.

After checking the appearance of the grains of Converted Rice, read the label on the package. The best quality Converted Rice is made from Long Grain, Brown Rice. If a package claims to contain a mixture of White Rice and Converted Rice, select another product. White Rice and Converted Rice require different cook times. Having both in the same pot almost guarantees a bad result.

Organic Converted Rice is available if you prefer it. Check your local health food stores and supermarkets. It will typically be significantly more expensive.

Culinary Uses

Converted Rice can be used any way that Rice is used such as a Side Dish for Meat, Fish, Poultry or Vegetables, in Soups and Salads, etc. It can also be used with Sauces, Curries, VinegarsSpices, etc. Converted Rice can be replaced, on a one for one basis, with Brown Rice or White Rice. The Brown Rice will take longer to cook but be more nutritious. The White Rice will cook more quickly but be stickier and less healthful.

Converted Rice is not Reconstituted Rice or Instant Rice.

Nutrition

The converting process gelatinizes the rice and can capture many of the nutrients lost when Brown Rice is “Polished” (milled) to become White Rice. In fact, a typical converted rice has up to 80% of the nutrients of a similar Brown Rice but with only ⅔ of the Starch. The major nutrients lost in the conversion process are the starches washed away and the B Vitamins that are discarded with the rice bran. Converted Rice is rich in carbohydrates and protein (though not a Complete Protein), vitamins, and minerals, particularly magnesium and thiamine.

Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes