The process of partially cooking or boiling vegetables, pulses or grains to reduce the final cooking time is called parboiling. When a recipe asks for a parboiled ingredient, it simply means that the ingredients must be boiled until soft and not cooked completely.
This is done to significantly reduce the cooking time. In a few cases, it is carried out to remove toxic and putrid smelling substances from the food. Parboiling softens the outer cover of pulses, grains, and vegetables.
Blanching vs Parboiling
Blanching and parboiling are two different cooking techniques. In blanching, an ingredient is cooked to destroy the enzymes and then immediately immersed in cold water to prevent overcooking, while in parboiling, there is no immersion in cold water. Moreover, the purpose of blanching is to retain the colour of the vegetables while parboiling is done predominantly to speed up the cooking process.
How to parboil?
The most commonly parboiled vegetable is a potato. When compared to other vegetables, potatoes take longer to cook. Depending upon the recipe, you can choose to chop or dice the potatoes. However, for minimum nutrient loss, we recommend you parboil the potatoes first and then go ahead with chopping or dicing it.
Wash the potatoes well.
Place the potatoes in a deep-bottomed pan. Fill it with cold water till the potatoes are completely submerged to ensure even cooking.
Add a pinch of salt and cover the pan with a lid.
Keep the flame on high heat. Once the water comes to boil, reduce the flame to avoid it from spilling over.
Let the potatoes cook for 10 minutes.
Next, pick a fork or a pointed knife and poke one of the potatoes to check if it is cooked. The knife/fork should pierce the potato with minimum resistance.
Drain the water and keep aside the potatoes to cool.
Parboiled potatoes are ready.
Benefits of parboiling
- It reduces the cooking time significantly.
-Parboiled potatoes turn out crispier when boiled as compared to raw potatoes.
- Parboiling gives a golden crust as most of the sugars are washed out during the process.
-Parboiled rice has a better nutrition profile as compared to regular processed white rice. In parboiling, the nutrients travel inwards from the bran to the endosperm.
-Parboiled vegetables lose out the raw flavour and taste good in salads.
Scroll up and watch the video where Chef Mehrishi demonstrates the process of parboiling potatoes.