This Pongal, celebrate Nature’s bounty by trying out some indigenous varieties of rice.
When we began our rice- with- bran experiment 10 years back, I proudly presented the unpolished, small-grained organically grown Komal rice from a friend’s farm near Mumbai; our son looked at his plate and balefully asked, “Can we have some normal food in this house for Sunday lunch?” From that, not so great beginning we have become a household that relishes Kuruva from Kerala repeats Rajamudi from Karnataka, respects the deep red Mappilai Samba from Tamil Nadu and reveres the dark as the night Karuppu Kavuni. We find the universal, unnamed, polished white rice quite bland, having got accustomed to the distinct flavours of these grains of rice.
The fully polished white rice that we get in the market is not the paddy rice our forefathers ate. They ate the flavourful, hand pounded grains of rice grown locally during the season. We have a rich cornucopia of grains of rice ranging from white to red to black to scented grains of rice. What we need to do is to welcome these back into our homes and diets. It is easier said than done, with all of us having become accustomed to fully polished white rice.