Illupai Poo Sambha Rice

As part of our travels visiting seed saver farmers, we reached Ashokan Anna's home, by then I was coming down with fever. I was tired and could barely sit up, his wife offered me a Kanji when I refused to have anything to eat and told me that it would make me feel better. I had the first cup, asked for more and had another cup and somehow managed to reach our next destination. 

 The taste of the rice lingered with me and I called Anna after getting back home to know more about the rice, called Iluppai poo Samba. He couldn't extol its virtues enough.

 This happened in 2016, and Anna told me how his wife celebrated and made kolukattais for Sowa pullayar only with Iluppai poo samba rice.A traditional festival celebrated exclusively by women three or four times a year.

 We started getting occasional small bags of rice from Ashokan Anna, which was relished by many who have fallen in love with this rice.

 Known for its healing properties ( including for recovery from paralysis) it is recommended for people suffering from aches and pains and those recovering from illness. 

 Iluppai poo Samba, organic, unpolished, raw,  fragrant, slightly sticky, greenish-brown bran, with stunning black colored padd, giving the fields an unusual hue. The rice releases its fragrance when soaked and is soft and sticky when cooked.

 This is one of our most popular rice from Tamil Nadu. It has been revived from almost extinction by committed organic, seed saver farmers, yet grown only by a few committed farmers. That's why it has become one of our occasional rice, available only part of the year.

 Rather than lament about its unavailability, we just relish it when it comes. One of the lessons I take away from our occasional rice is that we should enjoy good things when they come our way and should not expect them to be available on tap, like with mangoes, for which we wait a whole year.

 This batch of Iluppai poo Samba comes from our farmer Jayakumar ( aged for a year), who refuses to polish it saying that the beauty of the rice lies in its greenish-brown hue, which also makes it high fiber and low GI.

 We are also expecting the rice from another farmer, further down the season, who tried it from Bio Basics, really liked it and found the seeds, and started growing it. 

 You must try this amazing rice, featured here in a coconut milk preparation. A quick recipe :

 Pre-soak the rice for 2-3 hours

Pressure-cook the rice with 1:3 or slightly less water for 3 whistles on high and then on simmer for about 7 minutes.

 The rice will be cooked and sticky 

 Separately sautee finely chopped shallots, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, and green chilies.

 Add coconut milk to the cooked rice, add salt to taste, a little pepper powder, and a little raw cane sugar ( jaggery powder).

 Garnish with the sauteed herbs.


Delighted to start #summerwithscentedrices with our favorite ilupai poo samba rice. 








Don't miss the beautiful greenish-brown hue of the unpolished rice 

The stunning green Iluppai poo samba field with the black paddy grains

The coconut milk rice with Iluppai poo samba rice with sides of brown chana, potato-methi, and a green salad.

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