Idly Rice: A Staple Food in South Indian Cuisine


Last Updated on September 5, 2023 by

There are hundreds of varieties of rice grown around the world. Rice is a staple not only in India but also in the middle east and parts of the Mediterranean.

Idly Rice: A Staple Food in South Indian Cuisine

It is widely used in various forms of food. Rice originated in India, and it is first mentioned in Yajur Veda (1500-800bc) and frequently referred in Sanskrit texts.

Rice is often directly associated with prosperity and fertility; hence there is a custom of throwing rice at newly-weds. In India, rice is also the first food for newborn babies when they start eating solids or to husband by his new bride, to ensure they will have children. In BALI, rice is used as a blessing in religious ceremonies.

Preparation – 

Idly Rice: A Staple Food in South Indian Cuisine

Idli rice is generally parboiled rice used for mainly making idly’s. Rough rice that has gone through a steam-pressure process before milling. This procedure gelatinises the starch in the grain and ensures a firmer, more separate grain. Parboiled rice is often preferred for extra fluffy and separate cooked rice, and also is used to make a variety of pancakes, cakes and snacks.

The grains do not stick together when cooked, and it is favourite in India as the grains hold together without breaking or disintegrating when mixed with various curries.

In India, the original par-boiled rice is used along the Southern coasts, where the process of boiling the rice before husking and milling makes the grains tough and indestructible, and pushes the B complex vitamins into the inner kernel. Generally, parboiled rice is also aged rice and is believed to taste better and retain more nutrition. This rice is used for everyday eating in the South.

It is said that it tastes best for Idli, and some prefer it for Pongal. So good quality parboiled rice, which is specially processed for making idly’s is sold as Idly Rice in Indian Grocers. Parboiled rice or idly rice is called as puzhungalarisi in Tamil.

Benefits of Parboiled Rice

Parboiled rice might sound like it’s precooked, but it’s not. Instead, it’s processed quite differently from other types of rice. The resulting grain is cooked and served just as you would white or brown rice.

However, because of the special processing, parboiled rice is a better source of fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin B-6 than regular white rice.

a) B Vitamins

Parboiled rice is especially rich in niacin, providing 4 milligrams, or 23 percent of the recommended daily intake in 1 cup of cooked rice. You’ll also get 19 percent of the daily intake of vitamin B-6.

These values are about double the amount you would get from non-enriched white rice. Your body needs B vitamins to metabolize food into energy, but they also fill other roles, such as helping make hormones and neurotransmitters.

Vitamin B-6 removes the amino acid homocysteine from your bloodstream by turning it into other substances. This might help keep your heart healthy; high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

parboiled rice

b) Minerals

One cup of cooked parboiled rice supplies 2 to 3 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. You’ll get a slightly bigger boost of zinc, with 1 cup containing 0.58 milligrams of zinc.

That amount represents 5 percent of men’s and 7 percent of women’s daily needs. Zinc performs vital roles throughout your body, from forming the structure of proteins to regulating DNA. If you don’t get enough zinc, your immune system becomes impaired; it needs zinc to produce the cells that fight bacteria and infection

Why Para Boiled Rice? 

We know that parboiled rice which looks shinner and smaller in grain size is used for idly making it is widely preferred over normal rice because Idlis are so soft when made with this rice they are said to be as soft as jasmine.

Cooking time is also less when the batter is prepared with this rice. As this kind of rice is not fully polished this is very good for health.


So this rice gained high popularity because of nutritional values. It is highly advised to include this in your regular diet to maintain a healthy body. You can relish this dish with different kinds of chutneys. So replace the junk food you eat with healthy and simple dishes made from this rice.


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