Rakthashali - Ancient Rice in Contemporary Cuisine
Rakthashali is an ancient red rice with antiquity tracing back to Charaka Samhita. It is a much valued red rice used for the past 3000 years and in consistent use.
In the few decades after the Green Revolution, the growing of Rakthashali and using had gone down, as was the case with most traditional rice varieties.
Since the movement for rice revival began about 15-20 years back, through the Save Our Rice Campaign (which Devi, our co-founder was a team member) and a few other seed-saver-scientists and campaigns, Rakthashali has been grown by farmers and coming back into popularity again. It is now mainly grown in Kerala.
Quoting from a scholarly compilation of ancient Ayurvedic texts: "Rakthashali is sweet, light, unctuous, strengthening, imparts taste, stimulates the digestive fire and rendered wholesome, treats afflictions of pitta, burning sensation, vata and blood. Among the various species of rice, Rakthashali is considered the best. It imparts strength and complexion, treats vitiations of the three doshas, improves vision, is diuretic, enhances voice, increases the quantity of semen, cures thirst and fever.”
So in short, if your vata-pita-kapha dosha (for those who follow Ayurveda) seem out of whack, Rakthashali Rice is the one to turn to!
Bio Basics Rakthashali is even more special
Bio Basics procures Rakthashali from two young farmers in Wyanad , who are organic farmers and seed-savers. So our Rakthashali is organically grown, carries 100% bran, which means that during the hulling process only the outer paddy coating is removed and none of the red bran is removed. This means that the Rakthashali grain is left intact with zero polishing, leaving all the nutrients intact.
How to cook Rakthashali rice?
Pre-soak the rice for about two hours. Rinse and throw away the soaked water and pressure cook the rice with 1:4 water for 4 whistles on high flame. Lower the flame and cook for about 8-10 minutes and let the pressure subside before opening the cooker. Drain excess water in a colander and fluff up the rice and you are ready to go.
Recipe for the Best Kanji in town!
1. Pre-soak Rakthashali rice for 2-4 hours. One cup Kanji will serve 4-5 people.
2. Rinse away the soaked water and add fresh 4-5 cups of water for one cup of rice.
3. Pressure cook for 5 whistles on high and keep it on low flame for 12 minutes. Switch off the stove and let the cooker cool down. Check if the rice is cooked well and the grains are soft when pressed. If not, boil in open vessel again with some more water.
The key to making good Kanji is to have the rice well cooked, with the grains and the starch water having a thick porridge consistency like in the image. Otherwise, when the grains and water are separate, the kanji is not done enough and all you need to do it is to cook for a couple of more whistles.
Once rice is well cooked, add to a bowl/pasta plate, add salt to taste, add a vegetable side along with a coconut chutney or pickle. A pappad roasted or fried will elevate the meal to a different level. Your kanji is ready. Enjoy!
The cooked rice water (Kanji-vellam in Malayalam, or maand in Hindi) makes a delicious and filling, rich, creamy drink. Rakthashali being a highly nourishing rice, the Kanji is extremely good and should not be wasted.
For contemporary cuisine:
1. The cooked Rakthashali can also be used in some sticky south east Asian rice preparations.
2. Combines well with moong dal-based gravies, and sambar made with tuvar dal or meat or fish dishes with a creamy coconut base.
3. Add a few spoonfuls of rice to your favorite salad.
4. The cooked rice can be used a part of a Buddha bowl with accompaniments.
Buy Bio Basics Rakthashali Red Rice here