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Apr 1, 2007 12:05 PM

Converted Rice?

I recently got a slow cooker, and have realized that every recipe with Rice specifies converted rice. Can I sub regular rice for converted rice?

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  1. Here's a pretty good reference point regarding the difference:

    11 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      I think that description of the nutritional superiority of converted rice must have been written by the Uncle Ben's marketing department! Converted rice is a highly processed food, and all the blether about the process "forcing nutrients back into the rice" is just smoke. Unprocessed basmati rice is a natural product, with a delicious aroma and flavor. I would rinse it well, then sub cup-for-cup for converted. If you're lucky enough to have aged basmati, rinse, then soak in cold water for an hour or two for an even lovelier texture. If you like your rice really soft (almost mushy), you might have to add a bit more liquid, as basmati tends to have a slightly firm bite when cooked.

      1. re: pikawicca

        Coverted rice is nothing more than parboiled rice. It's been done for thousands of years - long before Uncle Ben's. It actually is used widely in the Indian Subcontinent, particularly in areas where rice is still husked by hand, and does force the nutrients back into the grain. All rice is processed in some way.
        Basmati (white or brown) has a noticeable aroma and may not be desirable for certain uses. It's wonderful for some dishes but not a complete substitute for regular long grain or brown rice.

        1. re: MakingSense

          Exactly, in our work on micronutrient improvement of basic foods, we are also suggesting ways that the millions of people in the sub-continent who have traditionally consumed par boiled rice continue to do so. Par boiled rice is redried and milled the same as non-par boiled. Strangely enough, about a year and a half ago, par boiled rice appeared on the shelves here in Colombia. Although I cook half and half with long grained white rice, parboiled can be cooked the same way as regular white.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Yes, it can be cooked the same way as white rice, but don't you find the texture quite odd and unpleasant? The processing seems to pit the grains, creating an unpleasant mouthfeel and a tendency to mushiness.

            1. re: pikawicca

              The parboiled we buy here is really good. No pitting, low broken content. It has a slightly nutty taste and is a bit more aromatic. The texture is the same as white. Not mushy at all. I just don't know what its doing on the shelves: I don't know anyone here that eats parboiled.

              I've never had Uncle Ben's so don't know how what we get compares.

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I grew up on Uncle Ben's, and was positive that I hated rice. Turns out I love rice! I don't know if we can buy high-quality converted rice here in the U.S. Where does yours come from? If you could supply a brand name, I'd be most appreciative.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  There are three brands here in Cali. I got out the bag of what I have now: Dona Pepa, Arroz parbolizado. The only information de origen is: (Huila is a Departamento/state of Colombia). I grew up on Japanese rice and have to have rice every day.

                  1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                    Thanks for the info, Sam. I'll keep my eyes open. I'd really like to try some of this.

                  2. re: pikawicca


                    1. re: pikawicca

                      I find Uncle Ben's rice flavorless in comparison to regular rice.

          2. No one has actually answered the question: Can I sub regular rice for converted rice? I have the same question. From the replies I gather you can but converted rice takes longer to cook. Is this correct? I am concerned with making a one pot recipe that calls for converted rice. I really care about the rice cooking properly if I use regular rice and if it doesn't it will ruin the whole dish. I understand the nutrient differences but I think we are both more concerned with how the rice will turn out.

            2 Replies
            1. re: darstz

              I cook regular and par boiled the same, with good results.

              1. re: darstz

                The answer to your question is"no". Regular rice will be nothing but mush in a slow cooker long before any of the other ingredients are remotely cooked. For whatever reason parboiled or converted rice seems to hold up to long slow cooking and will still look like a grain of rice after simmering for several hours. This is why it is normally used to make Cajun jambalaya, since it is traditionally cooked in a very large pot over a gas burner long and slow. The best rice to used in my opinion would be converted brown rice but I haven't seen that in any of my grocery stores lately. Hope this helps!

              2. Converted rice has a shorter cooking time, so you may find that using non-converted rice does not work. Depending on your recipe, you could perhaps cook the rice separately and add it in at the end.