"Easy cook"/parboiled rice and the absorption method

Hi – new here, many apologies if this is in the wrong place, or otherwise hilariously botched. (In theory I’m a chowhound refugee, but it’s forever since I posted there either – not sure it’s even reasonably possible to post there!)

Against my better judgement I recently bought some “Easy Cook” long-grain rice – my local store oddly seems to have discontinued their “normal” long-grain rice, and I had a moment of weakness. No problem, I thought, it’s just parboiled LG rice, so I’ll just use my usual absorption method, but maybe I’ll need to adjust needed water and cooking time downward.

Apparently just the reverse. Rice was dry and hard, which I can’t get my head around at all. Had to repeatedly add more water and keep steaming to get it to any approximation of cooked. Any idea what might be going on here? Does ECLG rice not work at all with this method, and it’s necessary to use the ‘boil it like pasta’ technique? Does absorption work with a slightly tweaked water ratio? EC brands too hellishly varied to say?

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Hmm. . I have no experience with “easy cook” rice. I DO have experience with Uncle Ben’s , which I think is par boiled, and has been hard to come by. Is it like “Uncle Ben’s”? I use the instructions on the bag (bring to boil with twice as much water, more or less, turn down and simmer 20 minutes more, let stand 5 minutes then fluff.). What is your usual method?

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I imagine so, though I’m not sure I’ve ever actually used Uncle Ben’s! Checking online I see UB is ‘converted’ and ‘enriched’, but I presume that’s not related to the parboiling and cooking method.

My usual method is similar: bring to boil, simmer until liquid is fully absorbed, likely as you say about 20m or whenever I remember about it. :slight_smile: I normally reckon 2x liquid with basmati, and a little more for American-style LG rice, say about 2 1/4 x.

This stuff does have cooking instructions – but only for the ‘boil it in a ton of water like pasta’ method. Hence my wondering if that was for some bizarre the only method that’d work with it.

Just tried again, somewhat better results this time. Maybe slightly over-steered on the amount of water, but still seemed to need a lot of cooking time. Most odd.

" What is Converted Rice?

Converted rice (also known as parboiled rice) is a type of rice that’s been partially cooked and dried, which allows the rice to hold on to more nutrients compared with ordinary white rice. In fact, another name for converted rice is parboiled rice."

Here are the “Ben’s” ( previously known as Uncle Ben’s) directions. I go with less water, add salt, and skip the butter. We buy it in the 3 pound bags, and I keep the proportions and directions taped to my storage con.

Cooking instructions

Stove top*

  • Combine Ben’s Original™ ORIGINAL CONVERTED® Brand Rice, water and butter (optional) in a saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil. REDUCE HEAT (medium, medium-low) and simmer covered 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Let stand covered 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Fluff with fork and serve.
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5 pound bags.

Thanks, I had a look at that article – well, via the googlewebcache, thespruceeats.com itself is a bit of a non-consensual cookie nightmare – and a couple of things ring a real bell. Firstly, the different texture, which potentially explains why it was never getting to the LG rice one I was expecting. Secondly – and this one really surprises me – the longer cooking time! So I suppose it makes sense that it’s longer-still using absorption, and I wasn’t correlating the cooking times given on this one (15m) with whatever the non-EC version said.

I’m definitely still having to use more water, though. Might be the longer cooking time and a loose pot lid, perhaps…

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None, I’m afraid.

I always have a packet of Uncle Ben’s easy cook in the cupboard. I just follow the instructions on the packet. It offers two methods. First is the usual 2:1 volume absorbtion method. Second is bringing water to the boil, and simmer the rice for 10 minutes. Both methods work perfectly fine for me.

This is the answer.

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Welcome aboard HO @alai. I am your resident contrarian. In this case you and I are on the same team. A temporary lapse in judgment. A moment of weakness.

I’ve faffed about with various “convenience” rice products and find that regular old fashioned rice is the way to go. Once you learn to make rice it’s easy and very rarely the long pole in the tent to getting a meal on the table. You can cook in bulk and reheat (with due care to food safety). The “convenience” products quite simply aren’t. The cost too much and deliver too little.

In my opinion, dealing with your moment of weakness grin is not worth brain cells. Let it go, make the best of it, and go back to the 2#, 5#, 10#, 50# bags of regular rice you usually buy.

But that’s just me. grin

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Oh wait! Is “Easy Cook” the little microwave bags? My husband uses those. I think they say 90 seconds in the microwave.

ETA Nevermind. Doesn’t sound like the microwave stuff.

I’m afraid it’s not, because as I already mentioned, there are no absorption method instructions on this rice whatsoever.

Thanks for the welcome. All y’all have saved me from one gastronomic gaslighting by the grocery already. :smiley:

I’m not at all sure I like this rice at all, though I’m enough of a cheapskate that I’ll be loath to just throw it out. So I have about of 1kg minus a couple of generous self-servings of experiments to try to get it right before I foreswear it forever. When this store sold both ‘normal’ LG and ECLG rice, I consistently bought the NLG, on exactly your thinking: rice is already easy to cook, why would I want a ‘convenience’ version if it only saves a couple of minutes, or whatever? But apparently that’s not the concept of the product at all, as shrinkrap’s link clarifies. (For which thanks again.) The parboiling is before husking, so the effect is produce a sort of ‘pale brown rice’: intermediate in nutrition and in ease of cooking between white and brown rice. So the packaging label “Easy Cook” is IMO really confusing – misleading, really. But then again they can’t really call it “Own Brand Copy of Uncle Ben’s Long Grain Rice”, so there you go.

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Nope, though I thought it was something similar, some sort of 'Quick Cook" rice due to some quite heavy parboiling, maybe like the way some quick/‘instant’ noodles work. But either that’s a different product entirely, or just totally muddled thinking on my part.

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Understood. I’m an advocate of eating one’s mistakes. You didn’t buy a 50# bag of the stuff, did you? grin <- warped sense of humor.

Happily not, though I have been tempted to buy (actual, normal) basmati rice in the Indian boutique-store in the local large indoor market. Bit too much like a long-term commitment though! 1kg bag, though I have a sinking feeling I might have forgotten about the first one and bought another, the next time I was in ‘I need to hit €25 exactly to use this money-off voucher!’ mode. But at least if the worst comes to the worst I can use one in soups, congees, etc, until, and donate the other intact to a food bank and make it someone else’s problem…

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Okay. I may or may not remember to use € and kg. Americans do dominate here but we have some strong and valued voices from the EU and UK. You’ll see the periodic discussion of volume vice weight measures.

I’ll torture those who have seen me post before - start at 0:25 but the whole thing isn’t long: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dstpxhIj52k

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These Islands are still in a state of mild confusion about the metric system, so in practice we still speak both – I’m happy to do the translation at my end. Though in these cases, those were the actual denominated amounts, so conversions in fractional dollars and pounds would have been been a little unnatural. :smiley:

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Would you share which islands? Not required, and no guarantee I’ll remember over the long term. Other HOers are better at that sort of thing. I’m in Annapolis MD in the US but have lived in many places in the US, UK, and EU.

Again, welcome to HO.

Here is a random picture of my wife’s cat just because. grin Emma (the cat) thinks our bidet is a toy. I have an odd sense of humor which pops up with disturbing regularity.

IMG_2700

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“These Islands” is a semi-conventional way of saying Ireland and Britain, without making it sound like laundry list, or using the term “British Isles”, which tends to annoy a lot of people on this, the first-listed of those. :slight_smile:

Nice of Emma to let you use her toy as a bidet from time to time! And thanks for the welcome.

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I’m happy to report than the ‘cook in soup until it semi-disintegrates’ method works perfectly, at least. I’ll return to fine-tuning the amount of water for the absorption method come next serving of my eurochili… Unless that ends up in a burrito.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold