Sela (Parboiled) rice is rice that has been boiled in the husk. Parboiling makes rice easier to process by hand, improves its nutritional profile, and changes its texture. Parboiling rice drives nutrients, especially thiamine, from the bran into the grain, so that Sela (Parboiled) white rice is nutritionally similar to brown rice. Because of this, parboiling was adopted by North American rice growers in the early 20th century. The process of parboiling itself, however, is more than two thousand years old and believed to have originated in the Persian Gulf.
The starches in Sela (Parboiled) rice become gelatinized, making it harder and glassier than other rice. Sela (Parboiled) rice takes less time to cook, and the cooked rice is firmer and less sticky. In India, Sela (Parboiled) rice is very popular in the southern states. It is preferred for making idlis and dosas, as well as kanji for babies and elders, as it is easier to digest and better in terms of nutrition than raw rice.
How to Select
- Sela (Parboiled) rice is available prepackaged as well as in bulk containers.
- If purchasing pre-packaged Sela (Parboiled) rice, check the "use-by" date on the package since rice, owing to its natural oils, has the potential to become rancid if kept too long.
- Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the Sela (Parboiled) rice are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure maximal freshness.
- Whether purchasing Sela (Parboiled) rice in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or debris.
- The best part about Sela (Parboiled) rice is that you can make the dish as spicy or as bland as you want, without compromising on taste.
- Always wash rice between both palms in a rotary motion, instead of with one hand, to avoid the grain from breaking.
- Never clean rice after soaking. Wash well, and then soak for the required time; generally, 30 to 45 minutes will suffice.
- You can make delicious khichdi with Sela (Parboiled) rice. Sela (Parboiled) rice, lentils, spices and seasonings are thrown into a pot or pressure cooker and cooked until the ingredients are cooked and blend well together. This makes very tasty, easy and satiating khichdi that can simply be served with papad and cucumber raita. In south India, this is called ven pongal and is generally served with coconut chutney and sambhar.
How to Store
- Since rice still features an oil-rich germ, it is more susceptible to becoming rancid. So, try and buy only monthly stocks of Sela (Parboiled) rice, and use it while still fresh. It is however not too perishable and can be stocked for a few months if kept dry in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.
- Cooked rice should be stored in the refrigerator and can be used for up to 3 or 4 days.
- Sela (Parboiled) rice is better than regular rice as it usually goes through a process where the starch gets stabilized
- Sela (Parboiled) by the volume (1 cup for example) has less calories, but it is because Sela (Parboiled) rice is slightly puffed and weighs less for its size.
- Rice is wonderful in treating diarrhea in children.
- Being low in fiber is extremely soothing to the digestive system.