Updated: Sep 19
As an avid consumer of rice, how many of us know the varieties or rice available in the market? Maybe, 3 or 4? However, In India alone, historically, (before the Green Revolution) there were 1 lakh varieties of rice. Some of the commonly uncommon rice varieties are Wild Indrayani Rice, Assam Black Rice, Ambemohar Rice, Red Rice, Joha Rice, Risotto Rice, Bora Rice, Basmati Rice, Sona Masoori Rice and Idli Rice.
Commonly used in our day to day diet, we often underestimate the health benefits of rice. Along with being the common man’s food, it is a quick source of instant energy (no wonder, it is so extensively consumed!). As a good source of fibre and vitamins and minerals, it helps lower inflammation and boosts metabolism. With a well-balanced diet, rice works perfectly.
History fact: Around 2000 B.C., rice may have been indigenous to India, China and Pakistan. Rice cultivation in Africa dates back to 1500-800 B.C.
India has proved to be an important centre for rice cultivation. The first known variety of rice in India may have been Indica, which was domestically cultivated in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, extending to Burma, Thailand and Laos. The Japonica variety of rice was cultivated in Assam and Nepal. Rice may have been introduced to the Southern plains and coast of India around 1400 B.C. Rice sees its first mention in the Yajurveda in 1500-800 B.C. , followed by several mentions in various Sanskrit texts.
Here’s a list of 10 varieties of Rice that one should include in their daily diet –
1. Wild Indrayani Rice – An excellent source of Vitamins and minerals like niacin, vitamin D, calcium, fibre, iron, thiamine, and riboflavin, Indrayani Rice is an instant energy provider that increases metabolism and aids in digestions. Not just that, it also works as immunity builder and provided protection against dysentery and heart conditions. This rice finds has a special place in dishes like masale bhaat, pot rice, khichdis and pulavs.
Taru’s Products – Wild Indrayani Rice
2. Black Rice – Also called kavuni arisi in Tamil Nadu, Black Rice is rich in antioxidants, fibre and anthocyanin that helps prevent cardio-vascular ailments and improve brain health. It is super-healthy and functions as a natural detoxifier and a powerhouse of proteins. Black rice is commonly used in dishes like rice bowls, ramen, puddings, noodle bowls and soups. All in all, this ‘forbidden’ rice (as it is known in China) is internationally acclaimed and accepted across different cuisines.
Taru’s Products – Assam Black Rice
3. Ambemohar Rice – Known for its ‘Fragrance like mango Blossom’ (as the name suggests), Ambemohar rice is heavily cultivated in the foothills of Maharashtra. With a little sweet to taste, Ambemohar is low sodium, reduces cholesterol and blood pressure and contains high soluble fibre and healthy natural oils. This rice is specially used in dishes like paddu rice, kanji for kids i.e. bhaatachi pej, masala bhaat, pongal, phirni and kheer.
Taru’s Products - Ambemohar Rice
4. Red Rice – With a nutty flavour and high nutrition content, red rice is also popularly grown in Kerala and is called Matta Rice. Red rice is the perfect variety to opt for if you are into weight loss. Doctors recommend red rice as a solution to mild symptoms of high cholesterol and diabetes. Along with being used for regular consumption or in salads and kheer, red rice also serves as a primary ingredient in idli, dosa and appam batters.
Taru’s Products – Red Rice
5. Joha Rice – The ‘legendary’ Joha rice, indigenous to Assam, has an ancient story of its own. According to the Assamese version of the Ramayana, Ravana used the fragrance of this rice to wake up Kumbhakaran from his deep slumber. Super rich in flavonoids and anti-oxidants, it improves the metabolism of the body and helps with physical fitness. These scented grains are used all over Assam to make kheers and other mouth watering preparations.
Taru’s Products – Aromatic Joha Rice
6. Risotto Rice – Known as Arborio rice in the scientific community, Risotto rice has high protein content and is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is said to restore bowel functions, keep diseases at bay by acting as an immunity booster and stimulate the production of enzymes and hormones. Unlike the name suggests, this rice is not just used in risotto but also in salads and curries.
Taru’s Products – Indian Risotto Rice
7. Bora Rice – Native to Assam, Bora Saul rice is an essential part of the cuisine during festival like Bihu, in dishes like Jolpan and Pitha. Historically, it is said that during the Ahom rule, this rice was used for construction purposes owing to its sticky nature. It is recommended to pregnant women and those suffering from anemia. It works as an immunity booster and a regulator for diabetes.
Taru’s Products – Bora Saul Rice (Pink Rice)
8. Basmati Rice – Called a healthy ‘super-grain’ by food specialists, Basmati Rice contains all the eight amino acids (and that is what makes it nutritious), is very low in sodium and has no cholesterol. With a wonderful aroma and the perfect texture, basmati gains its place as the ‘Shaahi’ i.e. royal rice. And it is due to this that basmati is used to make pulavs, biryanis, payesh and kheers.
Taru’s Products – Basmati Rice
9. Sonamasoori Rice – Sonamasoori rice has three distinctive qualities. It is nutritive, soft and fluffy, and aromatic. It is easy to digest and has low calories, thus, making it the perfect rice for those trying to lose some weight. This rice is ideal for daily cooking along with sambhar, rasam, koyambu (masaledaar South Indian gravy) and in pongals, sweet and salty.
Taru’s Products – Sonamasoori Rice
10. Idli Rice – Popularly known as the main ingredient to make puffy, delicious idlis, thin dosas and their variants, idli rice is rich in vitamins and aids healthy gut flora. It is also a great source of carbohydrates and proteins. Idlis are considered to be the most nutritious food in the world, with its origin tracing back to approximately 2000 years.
Taru’s Products – Idli Rice
So now that y’all know, which is the rice that suits your needs the best? Purchase them from tarunaturals.com and enjoy your preparations!
- Shruthi Narayan