In India, we have so many types of rice varieties available in the markets today.
But sometimes, it becomes difficult to choose the best rice from these varieties.
So, I thought I should write a guide on this topic, which can help in addressing this issue for those who want to know more about their food.
In the following guide, you will find some insightful details on the different varieties of rice available in India.
Types Of Rice In India
In general, you can classify Indian rice into three broad types.
- Short Grain
- Medium Grain
- Long Grain
Later, these types are further classified into different varieties of rice.
If you want to know more about it, check out the following list.
Different Types Of Rice Varieties In India
|Basmati||Long Grain||Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh|
|Bhut Muri||Medium Grain||West Bengal|
|Burma Black||Medium Grain||Karnataka|
|Chakhao Poireiton||Medium Grain||Manipur|
|Dubraj||Medium Grain||Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh|
|Gobindobhog||Medium Grain||West Bengal|
|HMT Kolam||Medium Grain||Maharashtra|
|Jawaful||Medium Grain||Madhya Pradesh|
|Jeera Samba||Short Grain||Andhra Pradesh|
|Kalanamak||Medium Grain||Uttar Pradesh|
|Kamini||Medium Grain||West Bengal|
|Kappa Samba||Short Grain||Tamil Nadu|
|Katta Sambar||Medium Grain||Tamil Nadu|
|Kullakar||Short Grain||Tamil Nadu|
|Laxmibhog||Medium Grain||West Bengal|
|Miniket||Long Grain||West Bengal|
|Mogra||Long Grain||Punjab, Haryana|
|Molakolukulu||Medium Grain||Andhra Pradesh|
|Mysore Mallige||Short Grain||Karnataka|
|Parmal||Long Grain||Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh|
|Ponni||Medium Grain||Tamil Nadu|
|Pusa||Long Grain||Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh|
|Pusa 1121 Basmati||Long Grain||Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh|
|Salem Sanna||Medium Grain||Karnataka|
|Samba||Short Grain||Tamil Nadu|
|Samba Mahsuri||Medium Grain||Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh|
|Selam Samba||Short Grain||Tamil Nadu|
|Sharbati||Long Grain||Punjab, Haryana|
|Sona Masoori||Medium Grain||Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka|
|Sugandha||Long Grain||Punjab, Haryana|
|Surti Kolam||Medium Grain||Gujarat, Tamil Nadu|
|Thavala Kannan||Short Grain||Kerala|
|Tulaipanji||Medium Grain||West Bengal|
|Wada Kolam||Medium Grain||Maharashtra|
As you can see above, we produce so many varieties of rice on Indian soil.
And there is no doubt why India is the largest exporter of rice in the world.
For those who don’t know, we largely export two varieties of rice, i.e., Basmati Rice and White Rice.
Both these varieties are quite common in India, and we use them to prepare many rice delicacies at home.
Since we are already talking about the export types, let’s talk more about some of the best and most popular types of rice in India.
Most Popular Varieties
In the following section, you will get a brief information on the most popular rice varieties from different regions of India.
Ambermohar is a popular rice variety in Maharashtra and nearby regions.
It’s one of the most fragrant varieties of rice in the state.
The word Ambemohar refers to Mango blooms in Marathi.
And these rice grains impart a similar pleasant aroma to various dishes.
It is a short-grain rice, but it tastes a lot better than standard white rice varieties.
You can use this rice to make different Maharashtrian dishes, including Varan Bhat.
You can also make Tawa Pulao, Vegetable Pulao, and Masale Bhat using this type of rice.
It enhances the flavor and aroma of these preparations.
So, if you are in Maharashtra, don’t forget to try this rice.
You will remember its taste and aroma for a very long time.
Bamboo Rice is not a typical rice variety in India.
It is procured from the dying Bamboo shoots, and it’s quite different from the standard white rice and red rice.
When the Bamboo shoot nears to the end of its life span, it blooms and produces lots of seeds resembling the traditional rice.
These seeds are nothing but Bamboo rice!
The tribal communities of Kerala harvest this rice as their staple food.
Talking about the characteristics, it does appear like any other paddy rice variety.
However, it turns moist and loses its texture after cooking.
As for the taste, it tastes similar to wheat grains.
It’s also a sticky rice, which means you can only use it to make plain rice.
You shouldn’t be using it to make Biryanis or Pulaos.
Traditionally, the local folks cook the Bamboo rice on the auspicious occasion of Pongal.
Regarding its availability, it’s not a very popular rice variety in the state as well as the country.
Hence, its use is pretty much limited to the nearby regions of Kerala.
If you are looking to get this rice, you will probably need to search the local markets.
The tribals do sell the excess rice in such local markets.
Basmati rice is the king of all types of rice in India.
It is a long-grain rice.
It is also a highly popular variety of rice for making Biryanis, Pulaos, and several other royal rice delicacies.
The word basmati itself means aromatic.
And it’s true to its name.
You would probably not find any other type of rice, which is as fragrant and flavorful as India’s basmati rice.
Did you know:
India is the biggest producer of Basmati rice in the world.
Dubraj is a medium-grain rice.
It is mostly cultivated in the state of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
It is also a fragrant variety of rice, which means you can use it to make flavorful rice dishes at home.
Dubraj rice doesn’t lose its shape and texture.
And therefore, it is a great alternative to Basmati rice.
Ah, the Gobindobhog!
The Gobindobhog rice has a special place in each Bengali’s heart.
Its unique taste, texture, and aroma make it one of the most popular rice varieties in the state West Bengal.
Also, the grains are not as long as Basmati rice.
And these characteristics allow the rice to be used in almost all rice dishes prepared in Bengali households.
Overall, it’s an all-cuisine rice variety!
Did you know:
In 2012, the Govt. of West Bengal had sent the Gobindobhog rice to London for the Olympics food festival.
The rice has also received the GI (Geographical Indication) tag in the year 2017.
6. HMT Kolam
HMT Kolam rice is another widely popular rice variety in India.
This type of rice comes under the category of short-grain rice.
The rice is known for its distinct aroma and taste.
And like all other Kolam varieties, you can use it for daily use.
You can also make Pej (Kanji), Masale Bhat, Vangi Bhat, Fried Rice, Khichadi, Jeera Rice, and Pulaos with this rice.
Indrayani rice is a well-known variety in Maharashtra.
It is cultivated in the Maval region of Pune.
It is a medium-grain rice and is a hybrid variety of Ambemohar rice.
And you can prepare Plain Rice, Masale Bhat, Vangi Bhat, etc. with the help of this rice variety.
8. Jeera Samba/Seeraga Samba
Jeera Samba Rice or Seeraga Samba Rice is another popular variety from Tamil Nadu.
The name Seeraga comes from its appearance, as the grains look quite similar to Cumin seeds.
And the word Samba means seasons.
(Obviously, it’s not related to the cult character from the film Sholay.)
The rice is known for its use in traditional Tamilnadu style Biryanis like Ambur Biryani, Dindigul Biryani.
Although it’s not a long-grain rice, it brings a unique aroma to various rice preparations.
It also holds a good amount of water without losing its shape and texture after cooking.
And therefore, many restaurants in this region prefer this local rice variety over Basmati and Mogra rice.
Similar to Ambemohar rice in Maharashtra, the Seeraga Samba rice yields less per hectare.
Hence, the price of this rice variety has gone up significantly in recent years.
Of course, it’s also got to do with its humungous demand from Biryani lovers.
For those who don’t know, you can make non-vegetarian Biryani with this rice.
You can also make a vegetarian style Biryani using this rice, though the taste and flavors won’t be as good as a Chicken Biryani or Mutton Biryani.
9. Mappillai Samba
Mappillai Samba Rice is another sub-variety of Samba rice.
It is a native rice and is often distinguished by its typical dark red color shade.
It is also known as Bridegroom Rice in the local language.
And you can make Pongal, Upma, Idli using this rice.
Mogra rice is known for its fragrance.
It’s one of the rare qualities of rice, which imparts such an amazing fragrance to various dishes.
And you would probably not find a similar aroma in any other type of rice.
As for its other characteristics, the Mogra rice comes under the long-grain rice category.
And it contains a high amount of starch as compared to Basmati rice.
There is one more variety of Mogra rice in India.
And it is called Mini Mogra rice.
The grains of this variety are shorter in size as compared to standard Mogra rice, but the aroma is somewhat similar to it.
Overall, Mogra rice is a great substitute for traditional Basmati rice.
It offers soothing aroma and is comparatively cheaper than long grain Basmati rice.
Since it’s an aromatic variety of rice, you can use it to make Indian pulaos and other spicy rice delicacies.
You can also make Biryanis with it, but you may not get the quintessential Biryani texture and flavors with this rice.
Molakolukulu rice variety comes from the state of Andhra Pradesh.
It is a medium-grain rice variety and is used for everyday meals.
It is also known as Nellore rice due to its origin in the Nellore region of the state.
12. Palakkadan Matta
Palakkadan Matta Rice, commonly known as Matta Rice, comes from the Palakkad district of Kerala.
And it is quite a favorite amongst the locals of Karnataka and Kerala.
With this rice, you can make Appams, Idlis, and Dosas.
You can also use it to make plain rice.
How to identify Matta Rice?
The best way to identify Matta Rice is to look at its color.
It’s got a reddish tone to it.
It also has an earthy flavor to it, which you may not find in any polished white rice varieties.
Did you know:
Matta rice was a part of royal cuisine during the period of Chera and Chola dynasties.
And the common people did not have access to this variety of rice.
Parmal is a non-Basmati long-grain rice in India.
It is also used as an alternative to premium Basmati varieties.
It is an aromatic variety of rice, but you can also use it for everyday use.
Ponni rice comes from the state of Tamil Nadu in India.
It is a hybrid rice, which was developed by Tamil Nadu University of Agriculture in 1986.
Its cultivation takes place mainly along the banks of Tamil Nadu’s Kaveri river.
It is also a medium-grain rice variety.
You can make Khichdi, Pulao, and other spicy rice preparations using this rice.
And you can use it for daily cooking purposes as well.
15. Pusa Basmati
Pusa Basmati is a hybrid variety of Basmati rice in India.
And its most popular variation, Pusa Basmati 1121, was introduced in the year 2003 for commercial cultivation.
And now, it’s the most cultivated Basmati rice with 70% of the total cultivation of Basmati in the country.
It is predominantly grown in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
The variety offers exceptional characteristics of Basmati rice, which includes long grains, pleasant aroma, long shelf life, and more.
You can use this rice to prepare many royal Mughlai dishes, as it goes well with the rich flavors these preparations.
Sharbati is a low-cost Basmati rice and is often sold as an alternative to the original Basmati rice varieties.
And like Basmati, it is also grown in the region of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana.
It is a non-sticky type of rice, and it doubles in size after cooking.
You can use it to make Pulaos, but I’d still prefer a good quality Basmati rice over this variety of rice.
The aroma, taste, and texture you get with premium Basmati rice are incomparable with any other type of rice in India.
17. Sona Masuri
Sona Masuri Rice is quite popular in Andhra Pradesh.
And it is mainly grown in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Karnataka.
It is a medium-grain rice.
As far as the aroma is concerned, it does smell good.
And you can use it to prepare many South Indian preparations including, Curd Rice, Lemon Rice, etc.
You can also make Idli, Dosa, Uttapam, Akki Roti, and Thengai Paal Payasam with this variety of rice.
18. Surti Kolam
Surti Kolam is a popular white rice in India.
And as the name says, it comes from the state of Gujarat.
It is a medium-grain rice, which is useful in making staple rice dishes.
On a personal note, we’ve been using Surti Kolam rice at my home for quite a long now.
And it tastes good as compared to other standard white rice varieties.
Also, it’s not very aromatic rice, and you can use it for your everyday cooking at home.
Another widely popular rice from the state of West Bengal!
Tulaipanji Rice is known for its aromas and taste.
It is medium-grain rice and is mostly cultivated in the Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal.
The grains of this rice do not lose texture after cooking.
Hence, you can make delicious rice dishes like Biryanis, Fried Rice, and Pulaos.
Did you know:
Like Gobindobhog rice, the Tulaipanji rice was also a part of the Olympics food festival in London.
It was exported from India to serve the guests in the event.
20. Wada Kolam
Wada Kolam comes from the Wada region of Palghar district in Maharashtra.
It’s an indigenous variety of rice and has an earthy flavor to it.
It’s also a small-grain rice variety and is often used to prepare Pej (Kanji), Plain Rice, and Khichdi.
Although the rice is known for its taste, this variety is on the verge of extinction.
Many local farmers have now stopped the cultivation of this rice variety, as it has a low production ratio per acre.
You can read more about it on Mumbai Mirror’s article.
Well, these are some of the most popular rice in India.
Of course, there are many more varieties of rice in India, but it’d not be feasible to cover everything in the post.
Now, let’s quickly take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions related to this topic.
There are more than 6000 varieties of rice in India.
Basmati and Kolam are the two most popular rice in India.
Basmati is the best type of rice in India.
It excels on all parameters, including taste, aroma, texture, and size.
Ideally, you can use any short-grain rice to make Idli and Dosa at home.
You can also use Kolam rice to make these South Indian delicacies.
There are three main types of rice, and it includes Short Grain, Medium Grain, and Long Grain rice.
Over To You
Since I belong to a coastal region family, rice is an integral part of our food culture.
And it won’t be an exaggeration if I say we can’t live without rice.
I generally use Surti Kolam, Ambemohar, and Wada rice for everyday use.
For special occasions, I like to use premium Basmati rice to make Biryanis and Pulaos.
And that’s how I use rice at our home.
But what about you?
What’s your favorite type of rice, and how do you use it in your everyday meals?
Do let me know in the comments section below.
And if you liked this guide, share it with your friends and family.