One might think of rice as a side dish but in the Indian culture, rice is a predominant ingredient. It is often used in the main course recipe itself such as the biryani or pulao. In South Indian cuisine, it is soaked, ground and battered to make crepe like dosas and pancake like uttapams. Choosing the right rice variety is extremely important in all such preparations for getting the flavour and texture right. So, here’s your guide to Indian rice varieties and a tip on where to buy Indian grocery in store or online in Germany.
Every time I visit an Indian grocery store near me, I am amazed by the options in the rice isle. Who would have thought the humble rice would grow in such varieties! Best idea is to understand my own menu and what I wish to cook before deciding which rice to buy.
This is a famous rice variety from the Indian subcontinent. The word ‘basamati’ in Sanskrit translates to fragrant. Basmati rice is long, slender and so aromatic that cooking with it fills the home with a delightful and inviting fragrance. It Is primarily used to make different types of Biryani, Pulao, Kheer and Herbed Rice. Basmati increases to twice its length on cooking, has a low glycemic index and is high in fiber.
Sona Masoori Rice
Growing in states likes Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, sona masoori rice is medium-grain, light in weight and has a floral aroma. It is low in starch and used to make variety of South Indian recipes such as idli, pongal and pilaf. This rice is a staple in South India.
Another South Indian staple, idly rice is short grained and mainly used in preparing the dosa and idly batter (mixture). This variety of rice delivers the finest, fluffiest and tastiest dosas, idlis, uttapams, puttu, appams and more. If I am in the mood for a homemade dosa feast, then this is the rice I buy from an Indian grocery store near me.
Pooni rice are full boiled and non-aromatic as opposed to the half boiled and aromatic sona masoori. These are also popular in South India in states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Pooni rice is served as plain white rice with sambhar, rasam, chicken or mutton kolambu (curry).
Jeera Samba Rice
Jeera Samba rice are small and shaped like cumin seeds. They are quite aromatic and fluff up on boiling. This variety of rice is grown in Tamil Nadu and has a distinct taste. Many types of Biryani in South India are made with samba rice.
Locally known as ‘mamra’ or ‘murmura’, puffed rice is made with white rice under high pressure heat. It is used in many snack mixtures or as a spiced namkeen itself. It is quite delicious and hardly takes minutes to prepare.
Flattened Rice (Poha)
This one’s a classic ingredient. Used as a common breakfast item, poha is precooked, flattened and dried to flakes. Steamed or fried later, it is a tasty snack which is also used to prepare many namkeen mixtures. Steamed poha is a great source of healthy carbs and energy.
There are many supermarkets that sell all the above rice varieties in Europe. One of the famous ones based in Berlin, is Spice Village supermarket. It is an Indian grocery store available online in Germany. They ship throughout Europe and provide doorstep delivery. Convenient shopping with the wide range of items on sale is a bonus at this place.