Mullan kazhama , a rice passionate seed saver re-discovered a few years back, a rice that organic farmers are reviving in the verdant paddy fields of Wayanad, a rice that looks unglamourous- large and round,a rice that tastes divine, a rice that grows only in Wayanad loving the climate there, a rice called raja annam, a rice that we should love …
Rediscovered by farmers this rice that takes 150 days from July to December, growing to a height of five and a half metres , got its name mullan ( with needle) kazhama ( a generic name used in north kerala for scented rices ). Scented rices are loved by birds in the fields and Mullan kazhama protects itself from the birds because of its needle like awn protecting the grain/milk inside.
It is not only fragrant and delicious but also highly nutritious eaten with bran ( most people prefer it semi polished because it is used to make specialty items).
Interesting, Lenish , my farmer friend who also grows Mullankazhama said, ” the fragrance becomes evident when the young leaves unfurl, when the flowers bloom. Even our cows love fragrant rices. When we fed them straw of scented varieties along with non scented varieties , both the cows made a beeline for the scented varieties, finished that and then moved to the other straw.”
I guess, at home, we are like those cows, the moment the new fragrant rices come we are making different things with it.Yesterday while cooking Mullan Kazhama, I felt the consistency seemed like it could work for risotto, so unusually for me , I decided to try it today for lunch and lo and behold we did get a fantastic, organic, vegan risotto with great consistency, sticky while al dente!
Since I am not a great cook (I cook only to enjoy this diversity that nature has bestowed ) I can never give recipes with exact quantities. I just throw in things, cross my fingers and hope it will all fall in place and half the trick is using delicious ingredients, they cook themselves.
I used vegetable stock , a lot of shallots and garlic , organic cold pressed ground nut for sauteing the vegetables and rice, pepper, rock salt and cashew nut paste made from cashew nuts soaked overnight( gives a slightly fermented feeling) . I sauteed the shallots, and garlic and added the rice after slightly roasting it with ground nut oil. Then it was adding stock, stirring, adding stock, stirring, added salt and pepper powder to taste.
I sauteed broccoli , cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers separately and added them to the already cooked rice. Surprise , surprise I also added a few pieces of pineapple into the rice while cooking since I was having pineapples for breakfast. ( will add full recipe ) All ingredients used were organic and the Mullankazhama rice is sourced from our friend, who is growing it organically.
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