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Apr 18, 2008 12:25 PM

Rice -- a compromise b/t white and brown, parboiled recs?

So after a year of forcing myself to eat brown rice, I've come to flat out hate it and decided that it isn't worth it for the negligible (to me) nutritional difference. There is nothing redeeming about it, and there are a myriad of other tasty options to get a chew. At the same time, like everyone else, I'm trying to get away from having white rice all the time.

I understand that parboiled rice at least has some nutrients, and was wondering whether there were different grades, methods of cooking (aside from what's on the bag), or brands that CHers could educate me on. (I'm only familiar with Korean, basmati, and jasmine rice.) Google only sends back Uncle Ben's website...

I think I've had it before in restaurants and liked it, but am not sure (not as fluffy, more al dente, distinct grains, off-white color?). Please excuse my glaring ignorance. And thank you for any input!

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  1. What nutrients do you hope to get from rice that you are not getting from other foods in your diet?

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      It really isn't a matter of getting specific nutrients, it's a mental thing where I figure I'm eating it anyway so may as well get something out of it vs. the nothing of white.

    2. I just have to jump in here. I really dislike, really REALLY dislike parboiled rice (is it the same as "converted" rice?). To me, it has been processed out of its natural state and no longer tastes like rice anymore. The reason it may have some nutrients in it is because the processor has already boiled the natural ones out and adds them back in, just like they do with manufactured breakfast cereals. They spray them on in the factory.

      White rice still has starches your body can use. Four billion people eat it daily. It can't be all that bad, can it?

      (Disclaimer: Yes, I'm of Asian descent)

      2 Replies
      1. re: k_d

        I know, I keep telling myself that if it was good enough for hundreds of years for my ancestors, I'll surely be okay. But there's always that guilt.

        1. re: k_d

          This is nonsense. Parboiled rice is only steam threshed rice, and retains the bran. Long grain white rice is the more processed one, not parboiled - which is NOT "cooked" in any way. I love parboiled rice not because it is easier to cook (about the same I find) but because it has superior texture and flavor to mechanically threshed rice. The post above - by k_d, is utter nonsense. It is true that parboiled rice is completely wrong for Asian food and will not get sticky. On the other hand, Asian is the only cusine in the world that wants its rice "sticky"

        2. I have seen some interesting mixed grain bags in Korean markets. They still have white rice, but add other grains for "nuttiness" and nutrition. Sometimes also in Japanese markets. I hear they are tasty.

          1. When I want a change from plain white rice I simply mix some brown and black with the white. Sometimes I will soak dried peas with the white rice or toss in a handful of dried barley or buckwheat.

            If you do the mixed rice, soak the black rice (separate from the brown/white) for about an hour or so, then rinse until water runs clear. This will lessen the "purple effect".

            1. I think it's all about moderation. (Disclaimer: I'm Asian) I mean, my cousins and extended family eat only white rice (and white bread), and they are rod thin. Though granted, it's less about weight and more about nutrition.

              I actually like brown rice, but if you really don't like it, I don't think there's anything bad with just saying "forget it". I mean, we only live once, so why force yourself to eat stuff you don't like, especially if you gave it an honest try? Especially if you hate it.

              But having said that, I'm curious what kind of brown rice you are eating? B/c the brown rice that I've had at almost any restaurant is just plain horrible. If that were my only exposure to brown rice (very dry, separated grains that don't stick), I would hate it too.

              I'm assuming you are not near a Japanese grocery store, but my Japanese grocery store sells "almost" brown rice, which I like, because it has some of the nutrients of brown rice, and is sticky and fluffy like white rice! So much so that I can use it for sushi. There are different levels-- 90 percent means 90 percent polished, so this is the closest to the (100 percent polished) white rice stuff. Then there is 70 percent, 50 percent, 30 percent, and pure brown rice. I think I have the 30 percent and mix it with pure brown rice. That's when I want plain "unadulterated" (unseasoned) rice.

              But a lot of the time, particularly with basmati rice, I want to add spices, lentils, cook it w/ onions, etc. So when I add those things, the brown tastes heartier, but I don't think you can tell much of a difference.

              I have no idea what parboiled rice is. Is that the pre-boiled stuff that is vacuum-sealed?

              Seriously, though-- I forgot how the backlash against white rice started, but if you don't like it, there are far more unhealthy things one can eat than white rice.