Types of Rice and Their Origins

“Rice is a staple on any Indian cuisine menu, providing a perfect accompaniment to many popular dishes. But what kinds of rice are there and which should you choose for your Indian meal or for use in Indian cooking? Let’s take a look at the types of rice, their origins, and what dishes they work best with.

Basmati rice

Steamed basmati rice is a go-to for many people ordering a curry or biriyani dish. With long, fine grains, it was originally cultivated in India and Pakistan, with India now producing around two thirds of the global supply. It has a nutty flavour and non-sticky grains that allow curry sauces to coat each grain for optimal flavour. If you’re dining on Indian cuisine in London, this is most likely the kind of rice you’ll be eating with your meal.

Pilaw rice

Pilaw rice (also known as pulao, pilau or pilaf) is not a type of rice but a particular way of cooking it. Typically made with basmati, it is rice that’s cooked in spices and stock. It’s thought to have originated in the Middle East, but is best known in Britain as an accompaniment to Indian dishes. Versatile and flavourful, it pairs well with everything from a mild korma to a fiery vindaloo.

Gandhakasala rice

A type of rice grown in the Wayanad District of Kerala, gandhakasala has an aromatic scent, a delicious taste and high nutritional value. It’s best suited for making the South Indian dish of ghee rice or sweet puddings such as payasam.

Indrayani rice

Popular in India, indrayani rice originated in Maharashtra and is an unpolished rice, meaning it hasn’t been stripped of the hulls, germs and outer bran layers like most white rices. It’s fragrant, sticky and highly nutritious, making it perfect for a number of dishes such as khichdi (known as kedgeree here in Britain) and kheer, a type of Indian rice pudding.

Kalabati rice

Indigenous to the east and north-east of India, kalabati is a black rice that has recently risen in popularity. It’s farmed in western Odisha, and is rich in antioxidants and protein making it more nutritious than many other types of rice. It is sticky in texture and can be substituted for basmati rice with curries or used to make kheer.

Matta rice

Grown extensively in India’s southern states, notably Kerala and Karnataka, matta rice is brown (unpolished) and has numerous health benefits such as aiding digestion. In southern India it’s used to make idli, a kind of steamed cake, and appam, fluffy pancakes that are eaten for breakfast in Kerala.

If you’re based in London and searching for the best Indian cuisine near me, you’ll find an exceptional array of dishes at Little India in Kensington. We use only the finest ingredients to create unique and flavourful dishes that remain faithful to the culinary traditions of the Indian subcontinent. Contact us today to book a table or order food to take away.”