Tag Archives: traditional rice varieties

Kudavaazhai Arisi Dosai/Pancakes – Dosai with Native/Traditional Rice Varieties of Tamilnadu – 2

In the list of traditional or native rice varieties of Tamilnadu, my attempt in making dosais continues with Kudavaazhai/Kudavaalai Arisi.



In search of health benefits of this rice, I could find the following websites with some information,

a. Health benefits of traditional rice varieties in valaitamil.com


b. Parampariya nel vagaigalin maruthuva gunangal (medicinal properties of traditional rice varieties) by Prof. M. Menaka


c. Parampariya nel vagaigal – enathu payanam 2015 (traditional grain varieties – my travel 2015)


Another research file on native rice varieties shows that –


  • In terms of the Glycemic Index (GI) it is seen that all indigenous varieties have a GI that lower than the modern variety.
  • When the GI of the indigenous variety is compared to the modern variety White Ponni, on a scale when the GI of White Ponni is 100, it was found that the GI of Kullakar, Kovuni, Karungkuruvai and Kalanamak are in the range 50-55 while Mapillai Samba and Kudaivazhai are in the range of 66 – 70.

Click to access ciks_progress_report_kp_with_annexes.pdf


These websites provide insights regarding native rice, along with those activists who have been greatly encouraging the spread of such native rice varieties among common people. These enthusiasts have been influential in introducing the grains to farmers, which has been gaining support and confidence among various groups to give a new boom to indigenous rice varieties.

What we need to know about these native rice varieties is that, these are all unprocessed brown, red or black rice. When we say ‘unprocessed’, it suggests that the nutrient value of the rice is intact and not polished away with the polishing of rice. When the western world subscribes to a particular health ideology – the learned community of the various developing countries give respect to those ideas, not knowing their native food habits have referred to the same, several centuries earlier. If we were smart enough to withstand the introduction of refined ready-made foods like pizza, pasta, burgers, noodles, parathas or the South Indian parottas- which are all made with refined flour – either from restaurants or made at home– we would have been a healthier society with less degenerative and life style related diseases.

The above mentioned fact would easily translate as being stuck to native and traditional food practices, an easy way to healthy life and healthier generations.

The indigenous wheat flour was replaced with white flour – refined flour (maida)
Cane, Palm and Date Jaggery – the unrefined sugars were replaced with processed white sugar
The unpolished black, red and brown rice varieties were replaced with polished white rice – devoid of many essential nutrients.

The list would go on and on … White might be synonymous to flawless cleanliness – but certainly not for healthy living and healthy off springs to extend stronger branches to consecutive generations. This level of survival of our society is due to the strong roots provided by our ancestors. But, healthy survival of our off springs lies in the changes we would adopt towards fighting obesity and junk food habits. We haven’t yet realized that junk is filled in our kitchen cabinets in its purest form – WHITE.

Let’s move on in our journey of healthy native rice based pancakes/dosais – this time – Kudavazhai Arisi Dosai.



The health benefits of this rice being, as per published articles –

  1. Rich in Anti-oxidants
  2. Fights diabetes
  3. Rich in fibre
  4. Fights intestine related ailments
  5. Aids in tackling constipation


Kudavazhai is considered to have been derived from two Tamil words –
Kudal – Intestine and Vazha – revival or to make live
In other words, the rice variety which aids in well-being of intestines and protects against related ailments was named Kudavazhai or Kudavaalai.

Dosais with Traditional/Native rice varieties

Kudavazhai Arisi Dosai/ Pancakes with Kudavazhai Arisi


Ingredients (makes approximately 15 dosais)



• Kudavazhai Arisi/rice – 1 ½ cups
• Karuppu ulundhu/black gram – ½ cup
• Vendhayam/fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
• Kal Uppu/rock salt – ½ tsp

Method of Preparation


Making the batter-


1. Wash well Kudavazhai Arisi and black gram.
2. Add fenugreek seeds and soak overnight or minimum 6 hours in water
3. Grind well in a grinder or any blender
4. Once ground into a fine batter add rock salt and mix well or grind the rock salt in the end.
5. Leave the batter overnight or until fermented well.
6. Dosai batter is ready for use.

Making Dosai-


1.Heat dosaikal or the pancake pan on stove

2. Pour a ladle of batter and spread into perfect round pancakes – preferably thin

3. Pour droplets of gingelly oil on the sides of the Dosai for easy lift of pancake


4. Turn the Dosai to the other side and let it cook
5. Take out once done- remember it would take just about 30-50 seconds to cook a side of thin Dosai. If one keeps it longer, the texture of pancake would be lost.


6. Make Kudavazhai Arisi Dosai crisp or soft and enjoy with any Thuvayal/chutney. The Dosai comes out beautifully crisp that you can shape it yourself.


The Traditional Rice Varieties of Tamilnadu

The traditional harvest festival of the Tamils –  ‘Pongal’ is almost here. It falls on the 14th of January, 2017. Wishing everyone ‘Happy Pongal’ is the easiest way to wish on any occasion with a ‘Happy’ prefixed. But Pongal is the Day of the Farmer. It is the festival to respect the Farmer and his Cattle, for the relentless service in providing staple grains and millets to the society. It can also be the ‘Thanks Giving Festival of the Tamils’. We call it ‘UZHAVAR THIRUNAL’  in Tamil or ‘THE SPECIAL DAY OF THE FARMER’.

When one of our friends introduced us to a wide range of traditional rice varieties of Tamilnadu, what more special an occasion could I wait for, than a post on the Harvest Festival. Hence, I reserved it for Uzhavar Thirunal/Pongal. Though I have become a better user of millets of my state, and those special millets have become a regular feature of the breakfast table, these rice varieties were only reading material till date to me. Or more, a topic of discussion in Farmer’s Programmes across national channels.

Unfortunately, not much historical or research information could be found in the net. But fortunately, much has been written recently and much more information could be found through videos of specialized farmers and practitioners of traditional Tamil medicine. I could feel a sudden urge among media enthusiasts, to popularize these traditional grains – in a genuine interest to protect the grains from getting lost in the huge piles of junk/fast and processed foods in the super market and to protect those farmers whose livelihood has never been appreciated as the Farmers of the West.

As two sides of every coin…the ever rising health issues is truly the factor of concern. To protect the elite class and the section of the people who urge to reach the elite class from Obesity, Diabetes, Blood Pressure and a wide range of Life Style oriented diseases, there is this new rise in the introduction of traditional grains and millets.  What is sown by the simple farmer is reaped as benefit by the trendy super markets with trendier gunny bags to store tradition at its grandest.

Coming to the grains that I was introduced to – A very special thanks to Mrs. and Mr. T.

Here are a few grains that have been part of the traditional rice eating habit of the Tamils across centuries and more. I have tried to present the nutritional facts of the specific rice variety with the link from which I could gather the information. For any interested reader – Just type the name of the rice, and one would come across the very few websites which explain the benefits.

I wish to post the different foods that can be prepared from these grains in the near future… may be Paniyaram, Pongal, Idly or Dosai.


These are the different varieties of rice presently with me.  ARISI is rice in Tamil language.

  1. Karuppu Kavuni Arisi
  2. Sivappu Kavuni Arisi
  3. Karunkuruvai Arisi
  4. Moongil Arisi
  5. Kullankar Arisi
  6. Kudavazhai Arisi
  7. Kaatuyaanam Arisi
  8. Maappillai Arisi





  1. Karuppu Kavuni Arisi – Black variety






This rice is believed to increase bone strength and prevent bone related ailments. It contains anti-oxidants equivalent to blue berries. It cures the problem of loss of appetite in children and also rectifies nutritional deficiencies.

Different foods that can be made from kavuni arisi are – paniyaram –sweet and spicy, payasam, pongal, dosai, puttu etc



2. Sivappu Kavuni Arisi – Red variety

This is the red variant of the black kavuni rice.






3. Karunkuruvai Arisi






Karunkuruvai arisi is believed to control Diabetes and Cholesterol levels and is also a Blood Pressure regulator. It also improves the strength of the body.



-are video links in Tamil that talk of the benefits of the grain.


4. Moongil Arisi/Bamboo Rice






It is popular among the people of Kerala and is called Mulayari in Malayalam.  Bamboo Rice is collected from the seeds of the Bamboo flower. Some species of bamboos only bloom with flowers once in 40-60 years and often die after flowering. They compensate this by releasing huge amounts of flowers and seeds.


These key points specify the health benefits of the grain.

  1. Studies conducted on the Kani tribes in Kanyakumari forests have shown that they consume Bamboo rice for its fertility enhancing properties.
  2. Higher protein content than both rice and wheat.
  3. Controls Joints pain, back pain and rheumatic pain.
  4. Lowers cholesterol levels
  5. Good source of vitamin B6
  6. Has anti-diabetic properties


One can also learn a few facts in Tamil from the below mentioned link-



5. Kullankar Arisi





This rice possesses antioxidental properties, and has higher zinc and iron content than white rices. They also strengthen, regenerate, and energize the body, regulate blood pressure, and prevent skin diseases and premature aging. Kullakkar rice contains complex carbohydrates that are good for health.

This rice is suitable to make idly, dosai and kanji /porridge.



6. Kudavaazhai Arisi





The link above shows a short interview with Farmer R. Jayaraman, who specializes in indigenous rice varieties of Tamilnadu.

He says this rice plays an important role in the health of pregnant women and aids in easy child birth.


7. Kattuyanam Arisi





The name has two parts – kadu meaning forest and yanai meaning elephant. As Sidha Maruthuvar (Doctor of Traditional Tamil Medicine) Dr. Rajamanickam says, the grain in the field grows more than 7 foot tall and even an elephant can disappear amidst the crop. Hence the name to this indigenous healthy rice variety is Kattuyaanam.

It controls Diabetes, improves over all health of children, boosts immunity and protects against skin problems



 8. Mappillai Samba Arisi




Mappillai Samba Rice variety increases stamina, provides energy especially for school going/studying children.  It specifically aids helps build a healthy body and an alert mind

Idly, Dosai, Pongal or Kanji/Porridge can be made from this rice.



Farmer’s Day Wishes to everyone. Uzhavar Thirunal Nalvazhthukkal.