Ambemohar Rice: The Scented Jewel Of Maharashtra
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In India, the national cuisine has traditionally included rice, a staple grain. It symbolises traditions and ethnic identity in addition to being a delicious dish. Every region in India has its own way of preparing and serving rice, and almost every place grows it.

For thousands of years, rice has been a part of Indian civilisation. Rice farming is said to have started in India about 3000 BC. As a sacred grain, rice is employed in many religious rites and ceremonies across India. It also symbolises prosperity and procreation. In Hindu mythology, goddess Annapurna, the goddess of food, is often shown holding a bowl of rice.

Rice is a versatile grain that is utilised in a wide variety of Indian cuisines. In many Indian dishes, such as biryanis and idlis, rice is a basic ingredient. In South India, rice is an essential component of every meal; without it, a meal is incomplete. Lentils and curries are often served with rice in the North. In the East, rice is used to make pithas and sweets. In the West, rice is used to make khichdi and biryanis. One such rice variety with cultural importance and worth is ambemohar rice. This article will walk you through some of its unique characteristics.

What Is Ambemohar Rice?

The Marathi term Ambemohar, which means "Mango Blossom," has a powerful scent evocative of mango blossoms. The Maval area of Pune district in Maharashtra has long been used for rice cultivation.

Based on historical data, it appears that the rich and sweet scent of this rice made it a favourite in the courts of Bajirao Peshwa and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It is reported that in 1809, "Bajirao Peshwa" catered a feast for 1,75,635 Brahmins using Ambemohar rice, a superb kind that he had bought from the Maval-Mulshi area of Pune District. The cooked grains tend to clump together and break readily. For this reason, elderly and younger individuals prefer it.

The bran from this grain has been utilised for oil extraction and mushroom growth. It was widely used in Maharashtra for religious events and festivals. The rice was also used to manufacture puffed rice, known as murmure. The Rice Research Centre at Lonavala, however, created a hybrid variety named Indrayani with ambemohar ancestry because of the low yield. Farmers abandoned this traditional grain as a result in the late 1980s. In 2016, the rice received a GI tag.

Uses Of Ambemohar Rice

Ambemohar Pulav

This dish is a celebration of flavours and aromas. To make Ambemohar Pulav, the rice is first washed and soaked, then cooked with a blend of whole spices like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. Vegetables such as peas, carrots, and potatoes are often added to the rice, along with a handful of cashews and raisins for richness and texture. The rice absorbs the flavours of the spices and vegetables as it cooks, resulting in a fragrant and colourful dish that pairs beautifully with yoghurt or raita.

Ambemohar Kheer

Kheer, also known as rice pudding, is a classic Indian dessert that showcases the creamy texture and delicate flavour of Ambemohar rice. The rice is simmered in milk until soft and tender, then sweetened with sugar or jaggery. A pinch of saffron and a sprinkle of crushed nuts like almonds and pistachios add depth and richness to the dish. Ambemohar Kheer is often served warm or chilled, garnished with a sprinkle of cardamom powder for an extra burst of flavour.

Ambemohar Khichdi

Khichdi is a comforting one-pot meal made with rice, lentils, and an assortment of vegetables. To prepare Ambemohar Khichdi, the rice and lentils are washed and soaked before being cooked together with vegetables like tomatoes, onions, and green peas. A blend of spices such as cumin, turmeric, and ginger adds warmth and depth to the dish. Ambemohar Khichdi is typically served piping hot, topped with a dollop of ghee and a sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves.

Ambemohar Biryani

Biryani is a luxurious rice dish layered with fragrant spices, tender meat, and caramelised onions. Ambemohar rice lends itself beautifully to this dish, absorbing the flavours of the spices and meat as it cooks. To make Ambemohar Biryani, the rice is partially cooked before being layered with marinated chicken, lamb, or vegetables. Saffron-infused milk is drizzled over the layers to impart a golden hue and rich aroma. The biryani is then covered and cooked on low heat until the rice is fluffy and aromatic, ready to be served with raita or salad.

Serving Accompaniment

Simultaneously enjoying Ambemohar rice as a side dish with lentils, curries, or other major meals may also be accomplished by just steaming it—a quick and tasty way to savour this exceptional rice.