6 Tamil Kavuni Arisi Recipes That Celebrate Black Rice Flavours
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You may know it as black rice or forbidden rice and know that this beautiful, dark and nutty variety of rice is predominantly grown in Northeast of India. But here’s something you may not have known about Indian black rice. There is a unique variety of black rice that has been grown in Tamil Nadu for centuries, locally called Kavuni Arisi. The state as well as the region has a number of stunning Kavuni Arisi recipes that have been passed down generations. Here’s all you need to know. 

Kavuni Arisi is native to Tamil Nadu, specifically the region of Chettinad. Traditionally, Kavuni Arisi has been cultivated and consumed for centuries by the Chettiar community of Tamil Nadu. Highly valued for its nutritional properties and considered a specialty rice variety, Kavuni Arisi gets its distinct dark purple or black color from its outer bran layer, which contains anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant. Kavuni Arisi is known for its nutty flavor, slightly chewy texture, and aromatic profile. It is often used to prepare sweet dishes and desserts in Tamil Chettinad cuisine

In recent years, it has gained popularity beyond its place of origin due to its health benefits and culinary appeal. Due to its growing popularity, Kavuni Arisi is now more widely available in specialty stores and online markets, allowing people to enjoy its distinctive flavor and nutritional benefits beyond the region of Chettinad. If you have access to Kavuni Arisi and want to explore a few authentic recipes from the region, here are six that you could try. 

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Kavuni Arisi Pongal

This traditional recipe combines cooked Kavuni Arisi with moong dal, ghee, and a blend of aromatic spices such as black pepper, cumin, and ginger. The result is a savory and creamy rice pudding with a rich, nutty flavor that is truly irresistible. Garnished with roasted cashews and fragrant curry leaves, Kavuni Arisi Pongal is a hearty and comforting dish that not only pleases the taste buds but also offers the health benefits of Kavuni Arisi, making it a perfect choice for a wholesome and satisfying meal. 

Kavuni Arisi Payasam

Cooked in a combination of coconut milk, jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), and cardamom, this creamy rice pudding boasts a delightful blend of sweetness and aromatic richness. The deep purple hue of Kavuni Arisi adds an enchanting visual appeal to the dish. Garnished with roasted nuts and a sprinkle of saffron, Kavuni Arisi Payasam is a decadent treat that showcases the distinct taste and nutritional benefits of this rare rice variety, making it a cherished dessert in South Indian cuisine. 

Kavuni Arisi Dosa 

Also known as Kavuni Arisi Adai, this unique dosa variety boasts a distinct purplish-black color and a delightful nutty flavor. The batter is prepared by soaking Kavuni Arisi and urad dal (black lentils) overnight, then grinding it to a smooth consistency. Fermented to perfection, the batter is then spread on a hot griddle, resulting in thin, crispy, and flavorful dosas. Served with coconut chutney and sambar, Kavuni Arisi Dosa offers a delightful twist to the classic dosa, making it a unique and enticing choice for breakfast or a special meal. 

Kavuni Arisi Laddoos

In this recipe, Kavuni Arisi is soaked, ground into a coarse powder, and cooked with ghee, jaggery, and a medley of nuts and aromatic spices. The mixture is then shaped into bite-sized laddoos. These laddoos exhibit a delightful combination of textures, with the nuttiness of Kavuni Arisi and the crunch of the nuts. With their natural sweetness and the earthy essence of the black rice, Kavuni Arisi Laddoos are an irresistible and wholesome dessert, perfect for festive occasions or as a sweet indulgence. 

Kavuni Arisi Idli

Prepared with Kavuni Arisi, these idlis are not only visually appealing with their deep purple hue but also packed with flavor and health benefits. The process involves soaking Kavuni Arisi and urad dal (black lentils) separately, grinding them to a smooth batter, and fermenting overnight. The resulting batter is steamed to perfection, yielding soft, spongy idlis with a delightful nutty taste. Kavuni Arisi Idlis are enjoyed with sambar, chutney, or a dollop of ghee, providing a wholesome and delicious breakfast or snack option. 

Kavuni Arisi Puttu

Made with Kavuni Arisi and grated coconut, this steamed delicacy offers a unique twist to the traditional puttu. The process begins by rinsing and soaking Kavuni Arisi, followed by grinding it to a coarse powder. The rice powder is then layered with grated coconut in a puttu maker and steamed until cooked. The result is a visually appealing and flavorful dish with a pleasant nutty taste. Kavuni Arisi Puttu is often served with banana slices, jaggery, or a side of spicy curry, making it a satisfying and wholesome breakfast or snack option.