Some Local Varieties of Rice in Bengal

Rice is the staple food of the populations in many countries especially the South East Asia, China and Japan. It is rich in carbohydrates and easy to digest. It goes particularly well with curries of fish and other vegetables.

In Bengal, people eat the rice daily. It is considered very pious  and is used in many religious ceremonies. The local varieties may not be as productive as the varities developed for green revolution. But they are very nutritious because they contain many minerals besides the carbohydrates.

A concoction made from rice and milk called Kheer is very popular sweet dish in the subcontinent.

Since the soil composition and climate of different places is not the same, the stains adapt to the given conditions and become localized. They acquire their unique tastes. Below are some local varieties of rice used in Bengal.

Tuliapanji

Local people specifically grow Tulaipanji which is soft-kernelled aromatic rice with good digestibility and use it in marriage ceremonies or annaprasan a ceremony in which an infant is offered food for the first time.

Chini Sakkar

Like-wise local varities Chini Sakkar (taste- like sugar) and Kalonunia (black-textured small rice) are also used for religious ceremonies in Raiganj area of Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur districts.

Jungli kundri, Ghato, Chitawar & Chhepra

In Uttar and Dakshin Dinajpur districts, use of broken rice (boiled and fermented) with Jungli kundri (Coccinia grandis) , Ghato (Clerodendrum viscosum, Chitawar (Plumbago zeylanica) and Chhepra (Vernonia cinerea) have been reported for preparing local rice beer called Jhara or wine called Haria.

Binni Dhan

Another variety, Binni dhan, mainly grown in Dakshin Dinajpur, has been mostly used during Kali puja for worshipping Goddess Kali.

Magursail

Generally, aromatic rice, Magursail, is preferred for preparation of Kheer, a kind of pudding made from rice and milk in Dakshin Dinajpur and adjoining regions.

Kala Mogha

A distinct variety, Kala mogha: black- scented rice named after a region, is also used for Kheer preparation by local people in Uttar Dinajpur districts, particularly in Majlispur and Maldwar villages.

Kalonunia

In Uttar Dinajpur district, local people boil soaked riceof Kalonunia in milk and sugar or molasses to prepare a delicious dish known as Payas. Parboiling of different rice landraces is common practice in West Bengal.

6 thoughts on “Some Local Varieties of Rice in Bengal”

  1. NIRMALYA NANDI, CHEMIST (E-1), ONGC MUMBAI

    Dear Sir,
    it’s always a nice experience to read your well-written articles, be it on oil and gas business, or on rice varieties of Bengal or on simple day-to–day observations. I found this article particularly heart-touching since I myself belong to west Bengal, and I’m much amazed to see that a person who doesn’t reside in Bengal has actually managed to write such an apt description about the ‘rice-culture’ of Bengal. You’re always an inspiration to young GTs like me. I wish I’d be able to enjoy many such pleasant writings from you in future. Thank you.

  2. Ranjit-But for your this article I would not have known all about Bengal varieties of rice. I read with interest….as being married to a Bengali girl I am much interested in the culture and life of these people. I am sure even my wife would not have known the existence of so many varieties. Please tell us…(1)Have you heard of ‘Gobindo Bhog’? Which rice is this ? (2) Which people in Bengal eat per-boiled and which people eat the ‘autab’ (polished) rice ?

    1. Mahipal Ji, thanks. Due to being in ONGC, I like you have so many Bengali friends. While in Silchar, I was almost a daily guest at my Bengali local friend. Fish was very delicious in that area. Ilish machh , rohu and Katla. I fact I was initiated in eating fish only there. I also listened to the Bengali music ( without understanding everything).
      Of late, a Bengali girl became friends with me and had more exposure to their food. Like us, they like our food except perhaps roti.
      As far as your queries, you are more near to the source (bhabhi Ji). my regards to her.

  3. Utpal Chakraborty

    This article focused only on local rice variety grown in north bengal area. In south bengal there were variety like Ratna,Jayanti and Banskathi etc. But now it appears Hariyana, Punjab variety in different names like Devbhumi, Laxmibhog has have flooded the markets of Kolkata. Only ” Dudher sar” is avaiable in some area.

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