Rice is a staple diet for more than 3.5 billion people worldwide, predominantly grown in all parts of India. In Tamilnadu, there have been several traditional rice varieties since the days of our ancestors. Now, there are only a few of them left owing to the loss of popularity and with more people moving on to white rice for everyday cooking. Better should we know, each rice has myriad health benefits when it is consumed unpolished. Polished rice is stripped of its nutrients in the husk, leaving us with carb-loaded grains.
This blog aims to bring back the indigenous rice varieties into our day-to-day lives. Let’s begin the journey.
Red Rice / Poongar Rice
(Source: New Indian Express)
Red rice or Poongar rice is a red rice variant and the traditional rice variety of Tamilnadu. This rice is flood-tolerant and requires less water; hence it doesn’t crave harmful chemical fertilizers or pesticides. This hand-pounded rice has more minerals, it looks similar to mapillai samba and is called women’s rice. The nutrient-rich rice is suitable for pregnant women and lactating mothers as it promotes haemoglobin levels in the blood and resolves hormonal issues. It is also said to give strength to the body. Iron, zinc, vitamin B1 manganese, phosphorus, molybdenum, magnesium and other nutrients are a few of the many red rice benefits for health. Many households in South India consume this rice in the form of idli and dosa.
White Rice / Seeraga Samba/ Jeera Samba Rice
(Source: New Indian Express)
Jeera rice, also known as “Jeeraga Samba”, is most popularly used to make biryani due to its inherent aroma and taste. The famous “Dindukkal Talapakatti Biryani” is the most popular biryani brand in Tamilnadu known for its flavour and taste is cooked with Seeraga samba rice. This tasty grain is not only flavourful but also rich in vitamins and fibre. It is also known to increase haemoglobin levels and improve immunity. Cook the South Indian Ambur Biryani with seeraga samba rice to experience the richness. Come back to thank us later!
Black Rice / Karuppu Kavuni
This rice, also known as the forbidden rice or the emperor rice, is still most popular in the northeastern states. It has a rare and exotic taste and is popularly grown in Tamil Nadu, Orissa and the North East. This immunity-boosting fain is rich in antioxidants and several vitamins, amino acids, minerals, dietary fibre and other nutrients required to build one’s immunity.
Red Rice / Mapillai Samba
Mapillai Samba rice is another incredible indigenous variety of red rice grown predominantly in Tamil Nadu. It is translated as “Bride Groom Rice” and is cooked and served to the grooms during the wedding. It was also the royal rice of the Sangam era. This rice is almost on the verge of disappearance from most farms due to the lack of demand, which is unfortunate. Rice lovers must know it comes loaded with nutritional value. This rice improves all stomach ailments as it comes with high fibre content, vitamin B1, iron and zinc.
We have all heard of brown rice health benefits, but the fact is that there are many more coloured traditional rice varieties other than brown rice, which are still in oblivion. Let’s support and bring these almost extinct rice variants back to our daily lives.
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