There are many types of rice found in India. Rice, the staple food of Indian cuisine, has been an integral part of the country’s culinary heritage for centuries.
With its diverse climate and agricultural landscape that lends itself to rice cultivation, India boasts an impressive array of rice varieties, each with its unique taste, texture, and aroma.
India, the world’s biggest rice consumer after China, has a market share of more than 40% of the global rice trade.
If you go to your local Indian grocery store you will see many different varieties of rice. The type of rice used in each household is often influenced by where in India the family is from.
There are so many Indian rice recipes to explore and one way to change up each rice dish is to explore various rice types.
From the enchanting Basmati to the rustic Red Rice, this blog post explores 30 different types of rice found in India, while also highlighting some of the most popular ones.
Indian Rice Varieties
There are many rice types, below is just a summary of some of them. Below the table are more details on each type.
|Commonly Used For
|Biryani, Pulao, Pilaf, Plain
|Jasmine Rice (Mogra Rice)
|Fragrant Rice, Plain
|Steam Rice, Pulao
|Sweet Pongal, Kheer
|Black Rice (Forbidden Rice)
|Desserts, Rice Bowls
|Gobindo Bhog Rice
|Daily Cooking, Biryani
|Traditional North Indian Dishes
|Curries, Kanji (Porridge)
|Kerala Matta Rice
|Kerala Meals, Appam
|Kala Jeera Rice
|Bengali Sweet Pulao, Biryani
|Payesh, Bhoger Khichuri
|Parboiled Rice (Sela Rice)
|Sambar Rice, Biryani
|Traditional South Indian Dishes
|Plain Rice, Biryani
|Idli, Dosa, Pongal
|South Indian Dishes
|Red Cargo Rice
|Kali Mooch Rice
|Traditional Assamese Dishes
|South Indian Dishes
|Curries, Kanji (Porridge)
|Ambe Mohar Rice
|Maharashtra Sweet Dishes, Kheer
|Kerala Payasam, Kheer
One of India’s most celebrated rice varieties and one the most popular rice types Basmati is renowned for its distinct fragrance and long, slender grains.
Grown primarily in the northern regions of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, Basmati rice is a favorite choice for biryanis, pulao, and other special occasions due to its delicious nutty flavor.
Sona Masuri Hailing from the Southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Sona Masuri rice is a medium-grain variety that offers a pleasant aroma when cooked. It is commonly used in everyday dishes like lemon rice and curd rice, owing to its ability to absorb flavors beautifully.
Jasmine Rice (Mogra Rice)
Jasmine rice, also known as Mogra rice, is predominantly cultivated in the Eastern states of West Bengal and Assam. With a delicate floral scent and a slightly sticky texture, this rice complements spicy curries and gravies, making it a popular choice in the region.
Favored in the western state of Maharashtra, Ambemohar rice, as the name suggests, emits a delightful fragrance reminiscent of ripe mangoes. It is often enjoyed during festivals and auspicious occasions, and its versatility allows it to be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
It is essentially unpolished rice, retaining the bran and germ.
Black Rice (Forbidden Rice)
Black rice, often referred to as Forbidden Rice, has a distinct dark color and is highly nutritious due to its rich antioxidant content. Grown mainly in the Northeastern states of Manipur and Assam, it is used to prepare traditional sweets and rice pudding.
Gobindo Bhog Rice
This fragrant rice variety is particularly treasured in the state of West Bengal, where it is used to make delectable desserts like ‘payesh’ (rice pudding) during festivals.
Indrayani rice, widely consumed in the Western regions, especially in Gujarat and Rajasthan, is a medium-grain rice with a pleasant aroma and a fluffy texture. It serves as an excellent base for a range of dishes, from spicy curries to sweet kheer.
Named after the capital city of Bihar, Patna rice is characterized by its long, slender grains. It is a versatile rice variety, suitable for both everyday meals and special occasions.
Hailing from the Northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Kalanamak rice is appreciated for its unique flavor and is commonly used to prepare traditional dishes and desserts.
Red rice, grown in the Northeastern states like Assam and Manipur, gets its vibrant hue from anthocyanin antioxidants. It imparts a delightful nutty flavor to dishes.
Kerala Matta Rice
Also known as Rosematta rice, this indigenous rice variety from Kerala has a reddish-brown color and a distinct earthy flavor. It is a staple in Kerala’s traditional meals.
Kala Jeera rice, cultivated mainly in the state of West Bengal, derives its name from its resemblance to black cumin seeds. The rice is valued for its unique taste and is often enjoyed with fish curries.
Another gem from West Bengal, Gobindobhog rice is a short-grain, aromatic variety often used to prepare delectable dishes like pulao and khichdi.
Govind Bhog Rice Considered auspicious and used in various rituals, Govind Bhog rice is grown in West Bengal and is especially favored during festive occasions.
This traditional rice variety hails from Kerala and is known for its medicinal properties.
A medium-grain rice from West Bengal, Sonamukhi rice, exhibits a pleasant aroma when cooked and is well-suited for various dishes.
Parboiled Rice (Sela Rice)
Parboiled rice is partially cooked before milling, which helps retain nutrients in the grain. It is popular across India for daily consumption.
Kavuni rice, native to Tamil Nadu, is a unique black rice variety used primarily to make sweet dishes and desserts.
Handia rice, from the Eastern states of Bihar and Jharkhand, is an aromatic rice variety commonly used in traditional recipes.
Ponni rice, originating from Tamil Nadu, is known for its unique taste and is a popular choice for making fluffy, flavorful rice dishes.
Grown in Tamil Nadu, Mottaikaruppan rice is revered for its taste and aroma, making it a cherished variety in the region.
This medium-grain rice variety is cultivated in Assam and is commonly used in the preparation of Assamese delicacies.
Patnai rice, grown in the Eastern region of India, is appreciated for its distinct taste and versatility in cooking.
Red Cargo rice is a glutinous variety commonly found in the Northeastern states, and it is often used to make rice dumplings and traditional sweets.
This fragrant rice variety from Uttarakhand is named after its resemblance to the black face of a ram (‘kali mooch’) and is a delightful addition to regional cuisine.
Gandakasala rice, an indigenous variety from Andhra Pradesh, is known for its unique taste and is frequently used in local dishes.
Kavargam rice, a short-grain variety from Tamil Nadu, is esteemed for its sticky texture and is a popular choice for certain traditional dishes.
Kolam rice, also known as Kolam Paramal rice, is a popular medium-grain variety cultivated in the Southern states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It is known for its delicious taste and is commonly used to make traditional South Indian dishes like idli, dosa, and rice-based sweets.
Ambe Mohar Rice
Ambe Mohar rice, also known as Amba Mohar rice, is a fragrant and traditional rice variety predominantly grown in the state of Maharashtra, India. The name “Ambe Mohar” translates to “Mango Blossom” in Marathi, hinting at the delightful mango-like aroma it exudes when cooked. This heirloom rice is highly valued for its unique taste and fragrance and is often used in the preparation of special dishes and sweets during festivals and auspicious occasions in the region.
Ambe Mohar rice has a medium grain size and a slightly sticky texture when cooked, making it an excellent choice for dishes like biryanis, pulao, and rice-based desserts. Due to its popularity and distinctive flavor, it is considered a culinary treasure and an essential part of Maharashtra’s rich gastronomic heritage.