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