Rice in Bengali & Indian Cooking: Things to Know

Rice is a staple food for most Indians. It is consumed with a variety of regional cuisines throughout our country. From that perspective, rice is like a thread that connects culinary cultures of different regions.

Rice is used in a variety of ways in Indian cuisines. It has versatile usage from plain to spicy to sweet delights. It is a hearty meal.

There is a wide range of rice available in India and you need to use the perfect variety for the best test of a particular rice-based dish. For example, Dehradun rice is a fine quality of rice and used in making biryani.

But you cannot use it in payasam or kheer. For the sweet rice dishes, you should use the gobindobhog variety.

Each variety has a unique shape, size, fragrance and flavour. The right choice makes a lot of differences in how a particular dish will taste.

As a cooking enthusiast, I just love playing around with rice to prepare a variety of mouth-watering dishes. In this blog, I will share a few lip-smacking rice recipes from Indian cuisines.

Rice in Bengali & Indian Cooking

Uses of Rice in Bengali & Indian Cuisines

During my childhood and teenage days, my mother used to shallow fry boiled rice with potatoes fries, onion fries, boiled carrots and peas. Once in a blue moon, raisins were added to give a sweet twist.

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We used to call it fried rice. Though it was not that and more like rice fries, still I used to enjoy it a lot.

I am still fond of this childhood dish and often try it for my children’s chatpata but healthy breakfast. You can try it in your kitchen. Add some cashew nuts for a crunchy and sweet bite.

Fried rice is a tummy-filling, tasty delicacy on any festive occasion. In many families, it has become a weekend special. It is easy to cook and so makes a perfect dish for the surprise guests.

Both vegetable and non-vegetable varieties of fried rice are popular. In winter, the dish tastes yummier due to the assortment of a variety of vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage leaves, peas etc.

Lots of cashew nuts and raisins give your taste buds a sweet feel.

Pulao is only next to biryani in terms of popularity. A pot of rice is cooked with vegetables (a few times, chicken or mutton is added) on mild heat. This excellent rice delicacy never fails to flatter.

Zeera rice is not a spicy dish but a little bit different from plain rice. You will love the flavour of cumin secretly cuddling each grain of rice.

Lemon rice is a Karnataka dish. Fresh lemon along with aromatic spices adds a delectable flavour to the dish. It is usually consumed for breakfast and lunch in Southern India.

Curd rice is another popular South Indian dish. However, it is becoming popular across India. Pre-cooked rice is tossed with curd and spices. This dish is comforting and a perfect delight in summer to feel full and cool.

Ven pongal is prepared with rice and moong lentils. This savoury dish offers an exciting flavour. Aroma of cumin, black pepper, asafoetida and clarified butter makes it amazingly flavourful and tempting.

Bisi bele bath is one of the most popular recipes prepared with rice and lentils. This Karnataka delicacy is usually cooked in a pot or pressure cooker and served hot.

Khichdi is another gem made with rice and lentils. Mostly moong lentils and gobindobhog rice are used to prepare the dish. Flavoured by whole spices such as cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, this dish is awesome and packed with nutritional value.

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Tomato rice is a delicious and nutritious dish originated in Southern India.

The unique aromatic dish offers great taste, leaving you to crave for more. Rice is lazily cooked with tomatoes, herbs and spices. Sprinkle a few curry leaves and serve hot.

Biryani is one of the most celebrated Indian dishes. Rice is slowly cooked with chicken or mutton (potatoes are used in Kolkata biryani). Flavoured by aromatic whole spices, biryani never fails to titillate the taste buds of foodies.

Payasam, payesh or kheer is usually made with rice. Gobindobhog rice is slow-cooked in milk flavoured by ghee and cardamom powder. Sugar works as a sweetening agent.

Firni is another rice-based dessert from Kashmir. Rice is coarsely grinded and then slowly cooked in milk. Saffron is used as a natural colouring agent and cardamom enhances flavour. Sugar is added only after rice is boiled.

What Causes Rice to Become Sticky and Mushy & Tips to Prevent It

Rice can become sticky and mushy when it is overcooked or when it is cooked with too much water. When rice is cooked, the grains absorb water, which causes them to swell and become softer.

If the rice is cooked for too long or with too much water, the grains can become overcooked and break down, resulting in a sticky and mushy texture.

There are a few ways to avoid sticky and mushy rice:

  1. Use the right ratio of water to rice: For most types of rice, the general rule is to use 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. This will allow the rice to cook properly without becoming mushy.
  2. Use a pot with a tight-fitting lid: A tight-fitting lid will help to trap steam and prevent excess water from evaporating, which can lead to mushy rice.
  3. Don’t stir the rice too much: Stirring the rice while it is cooking can break down the grains and lead to a sticky texture.
  4. Don’t add too much water: If you are adding liquid such as broth or coconut milk to the rice, be sure not to add too much, as this can also lead to a mushy texture.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your rice turns out fluffy and separate, rather than sticky and mushy.

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Questions & Answers:

How Does Rice Taste?

Rice offers a nutty taste with a chewy texture.

How Do You Know When Rice is Cooked?

You can see that rice is soft and it can be easily broken, then you will think it is fully boiled.

Why Does Rice Turn to Mush When Boiled?

If you over boil rice then it becomes mush.

What is the Ratio of Water to Rice?

The ratio is 2 parts of water and 1 part of rice is required to make rice.

How Much Water Do You Use For 2 Cups of Rice?

For two cups of rice, you need 4 cups of water to boil rice.

Do You Boil Water Before Adding Rice?

Yeah, if you want then you can boil the water and then add rice.

What is the Best Method of Cooking Rice?

First rise the rice very well then add 2 cups of water for 1 cup rice. Bring it to a boil and then simmer. Then do not peek and take a spoon to check whether it is boiled or not. Then rinse off the water.

Should You Add Salt When Boiling Rice?

Yeah, if you want to make the rice look perfectly white then you can add a little bit of salt.

How Long Can You Soak Rice?

You can soak the rice in water for at least 15 to 30 mins.

Should You Put Oil in Rice?

When you are making fried rice, you can put oil in the rice while frying it.

How Do You Know When Rice is Done?

You can see that rice is soft and it can be easily broken, then you will think it is fully boiled.

What Happens If You Leave Rice in Water for Too Long?

If you leave the rice in water for too long it becomes “Panta Bhaat” which is fermented rice.

How Do You Wash Rice Before Cooking?

You add water to the rice and squeeze out the water and repeat this for two or three times to clean the rice.

Is It OK to Soak Rice Overnight Before Cooking?

No, the rice becomes fermented by soaking it overnight.

What is Overcooked Rice Called?

In Bengali the overcooked rice is “Gola Bhaat” or melted rice.

Does Lemon Juice Keep Rice from Sticking?

Yes, absolutely the lemon prevents it from sticking.

What Goes Good with Rice?

Dal, fries, curries, chicken, mutton and even fishes go very well with rice.

What is Rice Called in Different Languages?

Rice is known as Bhaat in Bengali and Chawal in Hindi.

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