Fragrant Rice - The Flavorful Escape from Summer Heat

The Ideal Rice for Hot Days!
Temperatures are soaring. Even in Coimbatore, known for its relatively salubrious climate. Rarely do we see 40 Celsius. And it is cool until mid-March. But all that is so in the past! 2024 started getting hot by February, and we are flirting with the 40 number everyday. No rains since November. Thankfully our water supply is not affected. Yet.

Summer is early, or perhaps, climate change is here. And as it gets hotter, our appetites also wane. Thirst overtakes hunger. Even in Coimbatore, where one has to do cardio to sweat. Unlike Mumbai or Chennai, where one has to just breathe to sweat!! And if you are not moving from one air conditioned space to another, you can see how our body reacts to this heat.

Yesterday, one such hot day, at 9 am, the usual time when our lunch gets ready, the scent of rice wafted around our house. It smelt so good. I knew it was one of our fragrant rices, but which one? It was a mystery until lunch time.

Lunch was Indrayani Rice (from Maharashtra) and Maanga Pachadi with Purple cabbage thoran/poriyal, and black chana sundal. With raw mango pickle. Allow me to elaborate. And you will see where I am going with this.

Indrayani is one of many fragrant or scented rices Bio Basics offers. It is white, raw (as in it is not the usual parboiled rice that we are used to in Kerala/Tamil Nadu), and absolutely fragrant. Known to be the favourite among Maharashtrians.

Maanga Pachadi is a Kerala dish with ripe, yet a bit sour, mangoes, including the kernels with flesh on them, and curd and coconut, seasoned with mustard. All organic, except the curd. A fantastic gravy for rice, a finger-licking sweet-sour-spicy combo.

Purple Cabbage is unusual, but we have been getting it often nowadays. Added colour to the dish, pun intended. Lightly steamed and garnished with coconut (as with all thoran/poriyals).

Black Chana (brown when cooked though) is highly unusual. Not the usual brown chana. Smaller grains, much tastier than the brown chana. A typical sundal - steamed chana, plus coconut.

And the spicy red pickle from diced raw mango to make it all incredibly yummy.

Now look at the plate. White, yellow, purple, brown & red. Colourful. Flavourful. Wonderful!

White fragrant rices are great as the mercury rises. Light on the tummy, easy to digest, and tasty to boot. Best way to stay energized. But you don’t have to restrict yourself to just plain old Basmati.

Look at what India has to offer - Gobindobhog & Tulaipanji from Bengal, Javaphul & Basabhog from Chattisgarh, Indrayani & Ambe Mohar from Maharashtra, Jeeraga Samba from Tamil Nadu, Gandhagashaale & Mullan Kazhma from Kerala. And many more. Move over, Basmati?!

So the fragrance of Indian masalas are not the only way to define Indian kitchens, but the fragrance from these rices from all across the sub-continent can waft through your home.

Now go, make your neighbour rush in to ask you what’s cooking!

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