It was the third evening of our five day trip through the kaveri delta visiting farms, visiting old farmer friends and fellow travellers. I was slowly starting to feel feverish and could barely keep my head up. That’s when we arrived at Ashokan Anna’s farm. As soon as he realized that I was feeling poorly he asked me to lie down and asked his wife to bring some hot Kanji,which she had just prepared. He asked me to drink it slowly. It was delicious , warm and very easy to swallow.I asked for a second cup and downed that as well. After that I could barely eat for the next day and I remember that the Kanji sustained me, nourished me till I got home 36 hours later.
He told us that it is the Illupai poo samba rice, mildly fragrant, with healing properties and very soft to eat. Later I learnt that the porridge made with lIluppai poo samba is good for people who are paralysed, effective for joint pains and reduces phlegm in children. It is also known to help clear skin problems. It is also believed that the raw rice is used to prepare snacks to worship Vinayagar (Lord Ganesh) on Tuesdays.
Iluppai Poo samba is a medium duration ( 130 days) white rice variety grown during samba and gets its name from the fragrance of the iluppai poo ( mahua flowers) that its flowers emanate. A light greenish variety it is fine and small grained and is a delicious favourite: A kanji, a variety rice or just table rice, it is worth trying.
Preparation time: 1:3- 3.5 water for cooking in a vessel ( I generally prefer to cook most of my rices in a vessel , unless it requires very high cooking time , in which case I use a pressure cooker reluctantly)