A few of the more well-known rice varieties in India include sonamasuri, Ponni, Ambemohar, and many others.
Importance of Sonamasuri in India
Sonamasuri is a variety of rice extensively cultivated in the Southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Some main points about sonamasuri rice;
Sonamasuri rice is medium-grained. Unlike its long-grained relative, it is shorter and moister. It means that after cooking, medium-grained rice tends to hold more water.
In comparison to the short-grained rice variety, medium-grained rice is less starchy. Starch is a type of carbohydrate more commonly found in cereals and root vegetables. Less starch makes sonamasuri rice easy to digest.
Sonamasuri is one of the more popular rice commonly used in Indian households. South India especially prefers sonamasuri to its various counterparts. It is excellent when used to make south Indian food like idlis, biryani, and rice porridges
The unique aspect of the sonamasuri rice is that is has a very mild sweet flavour. It doesn’t overpower the taste of its accompanying dishes like sambhars or sabzis. It is lightweight, meaning it doesn’t sit heavily in the stomach.
Sonamasuri rice is used as a substitute to basmati rice as it also holds a unique fragrance. Basmati is also more expensive than other rice, so economically, basmati is replaced with sonamasuri.
Types of Sonamasuri Rice
In the market now, we get different varieties of rice – the same is true even for sonamasuri.
White Rice – Since the process to bring about white rice strips most of the hardier nutrients from the cereal, it is very easy to digest. Food prepared with sonamasuri white rice is useful for those sports and fitness enthusiasts who lose a lot of energy and strength exercising.
Parboiled Rice – This is rice which is partially cooked in the husk during the milling process and then dried before packaging. Although this discards some of the inherent nutrients from the rice, it is healthier compared to fully processed white rice. Any parboiled rice contains more fibre and nutrients compared to the polished white variety.
Brown Rice – Brown rice has a GI index of 50 compared to white rice which is 89. Brown rice is a healthier option for people with diabetes to consume. The carbohydrates are slow to leave the body and hence give energy is slow bursts, thereby providing help in controlling blood sugar levels.
Nutrients in Sonamasuri Rice
The nutrients in sonamasuri rice are similar to other white rice varieties. Look at the snapshot below to see approximate nutrition that can be gained by consuming a cup of rice.
The question that arises with having an abundance in rice varieties is, how do you choose the right rice? The process is quite simple.
If you go for packaged products, the packaging date would be stamped on the cover. The date is enough information to verify the quality of the rice.
But if you are going to a wholesale market where the rice is sold on the loose from big bags, you need to check off these two following points:
Colour – During the processing process, bleach is sometimes used to whiten the rice and remove germs. This is washed off before you cook rice, but if there is too much bleach, it might not wash off. Choose the rice that is not very white – the colour should be between a mild yellow and off-white.
Aroma – Although aged rice holds a special place for rice-lovers, you need to be sure that rice is aged and not rotten. Aged rice has a mild yellowish colour. It has a deeper aroma as compared to new rice. If rice is ruined, there is a distinct rotten smell that makes it unappetizing.
How to Cook Sonamasuri Rice
Like all Indian rice varieties, sonamasuri rice is also quite easy to cook. There are several ways to get the rice ready to eat. However, the three more popular ways to cook rice are in an open pot, in a pressure cooker, or the pilaf method.
In an Open Pot – Cooking in an open pot is an age-old tradition, especially in South India. The required quantity of rice is first washed to remove impurities. Then it is placed over the stove with almost triple the amount of water. Keep stirring the rice to avoid clumping. After around 15-20 minutes, check the rice – if it mashes easily, it is done. Drain the excess liquid from the rice. In this method, almost all the starch is removed from rice before it is consumed.
In a Pressure Cooker – This method is time-saving, and it keeps most of the nutrients intact. The required quantity of rice is rinsed of its impurities and coating until the water runs clear. Most of the Indian rice varieties cook with a ratio of 2:1, i.e. Two parts water for one portion of rice. Once the rice and water are placed in the cooker directly or indirectly using a pot in the pot, they are cooked for around 15-20 minutes. Depending on the quality of rice, the cooking time also varies. If cooking time needs to be decreased, the rice should be soaked for around 30 minutes before it is cooked.
The Pilaf Method – In the pilaf method, rice is sautéed in a pan along with a few spices. Water is added gradually till the rice grains are separate and fluffy. This method is mostly used while cooking basmati rice, but it is easily adaptable to cook even sonamasuri rice. Cooking rice with a few aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon or cumin imparts a subtle aroma and added flavour to cooked rice.
Rice is staple in most Indian households. And whether it is basmati or sonamasuri or any other kind, for that matter, it will always hold a special relevance. Sonamasuri rice is a very special kind of rice that can effortlessly be used in place of basmati. Therefore, let the above-mentioned information on sonamasuri be a good reference the next time you go out to purchase rice. Happy cooking!