12 Aromatic Rice Plates With These Fragrant Rice From India
Image Credit: Know all about aromatic rice varieties here. Image courtesy: Pexels

Think aromatic or fragrant rice and most of us Indians immediately think of Basmati, probably because it is widely available now and has been promoted for decades as the perfect rice variety for biryanis and pulaos. But, in case you didn’t know, there are more fragrant rice varieties grown across the Indian subcontinent and the world. The variety is not just limited to the Basmati, because the science behind fragrant rice proves that it can be grown anywhere, and the aroma can be dependent on everything from the soil type to the genetic factors. 

In case you are wondering what this science is, then scientists believe that the aroma in fragrant rice comes from the volatile compounds 2aP or 2 acetyle-1-pyrroline. This compound is formed due to spontaneous mutations of the OsBadh2 gene of the rice plants. Isn’t it amazing how a simple mutation can lead to Indian foodies being able to enjoy a wide variety of fragrant rice? Here are some of the fragrant rice varieties from across India that you should know about. 


Also known as Vishnubhog rice, Gobindobhog is a short-grain aromatic rice grown mostly in West Bengal. The white-coloured rice which turns sticky after being cooked, is traditionally cultivated in the Bengal districts of Hooghly, Nadia, Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia and Bardhaman. Gobindobhog rice is also cultivated in Bihar’s Kaimur and Naugachia areas, and in Chhattisgarh’s Sarguja area. The fragrant rice variety is used to prepare a variety of pulaos and rice-based sweet dishes. 

Sona Masuri

This fragrant rice variety was created as a hybrid of Sona and Masuri rice varieties, which are largely grown in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. Also known as Bangaru Theegalu or golden ivy in Telugu, Sona Masuri is a medium-grain white rice used primarily in South Indian cuisine. It is grown in districts like Krishna, Guntur, Kurnool, Nellore, Prakashan, Mahabubnagar, Miryalaguda, Karimnagar, Warangal Bellary, Belagavi, Raichur and Koppal regions. 


This fragrant rice variety originates in Maharashtra. In Marathi Ambemohar means mango blossoms, and the rice variety has been grown in the region for centuries. The largest Ambemohar-growing area is the Mulshi region of Pune district. The grains are short and wide, white in colour, and sticky when cooked. Because it is susceptible to diseases, the rice variety is a low-yield one and has now been modified into new varieties called Phule Maval and Phule Samrudhi. 


Unlike other fragrant rice varieties on this list, Texmati was not born in India. In 1984, Robin Andrews, an executive of a rice company based out of Texas, RiceTec, developed Texmati. This long-grain aromatic white rice variety was a hybrid between Basmati rice and American long-grain rice grown in Texas. Many believe that the hybrid Texmati was actually developed by Louisiana State University scientists and popularised by Andrews’ company.  


This long-grain fragrant rice variety comes from Thailand, but is now popular across South Asia. The major Jasmine rice growing areas of Asia are Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. When cooked, Jasmine rice turns sweet and sticky, which is why it is used in sweet-savoury rice dishes in not only the regions where it is grown, but also in India. 


Tulaipanji rice originates in West Bengal and is widely grown in Raiganj and Dakshin Dinajpur districts. This indigenous fragrant rice variety has medium-long grains and is grown without any use of fertilizers. It is believed that the low soil fertility and moisture stress in the districts where it is grown lead to fragrant mutation in the rice crops. When cooked, Tulaipanji turns bright, non-sticky and savoury. 


This fragrant rice variety originates in Bangladesh, but is grown in many districts that now fall under West Bengal. Known as the Prince of Rice, Chinigura is delicate, short-grained with a unique needle-like shape. When cooked, Chinigura turns fluffy and each grain separates, making it a favourite for pulaos, savoury dishes and sweet dishes too. Chinigura is, in fact, so delicate and easy to digest that it is also used as baby food. 


Also known as California Red Jasmine Rice, Wehani is an aromatic brown rice variety grown primarily in California. The hybrid between Basmati and Jasmine rice was created by the Lundberg Family Farms in Richvale, California. The crop is registered under the family’s name and named after the brothers of the family: Wendell, Eldon, Homer, Albert and Harlan. Reddish-brown and long-grained, Wehani looks like wild rice and is slightly chewy when cooked. 


This aromatic rice variety originates in Bangladesh, and is short-grained and naturally sweet. Compared to other fragrant rice varieties from Bangladesh, like Kalijira and Chinigura, Tulshimala is richer and fattier. This is the reason why it is primarily used to make a variety of sweet dishes from the region like kheer and payesh. Tulshimala is grown primarily in Bangladesh, but it is imported by Bengalis in West Bengal and Tripura. 


Also spelled as Kalijeera, this fragrant rice variety is often confused with Gobindobhog because both look similar. However, Kalijira is primarily grown in Bangladesh’s Dinajpur district and has medium-sized grains. Also known as baby Basmati, Kalijira is naturally sweet in flavour and is also gluten-free—which is why it is now gaining more popularity across India and the world. 

Kali Mooch

Grown across the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Maharashtra, Kali Mooch is also known as Chinnor rice. This fragrant rice is indigenous to India and has medium-sized grains. Nutrient-dense and easy to digest, Kali Mooch is predominantly used to make savoury preparations or consumed in boiled form with vegetables and curries. 

Wild Pecan

Despite its name, Wild Pecan rice is not a type of wild rice but a hybrid fragrant rice variety developed in Louisiana and the American South. Brown and long-grained, this rice variety has a nutty aroma and looks quite like wild rice. Legend says that a young Louisiana farmer accidentally invented this fragrant rice variety and named it after the native pecan fruit. Although more popular in the US, Wild Pecan is now imported to India by rice connoisseurs.