Since I was a kid, I have always loved rice. Pair the long-grain rice with any dish and I would readily eat it (even if it was with the much detested kaddu or pumpkin). The reason why I personally enjoy eating rice is because it changes the flavour of the entire subzi you are having along with it. When a vegetable or a meat dish is mixed with rice, the flavours blend in so well that sometimes I almost forget that I hate that particular veggie. Playing on my weakness, my mother used to feed me all my greens this way, disguised in the rice and I used to happily eat them too. 

Did you know that rice is not simply consumed as it is every time? This grain is so versatile that you can actually grind flour out of it and make some delicious Bhakri, a Maharashtrian rice flour roti. Then we’ve got a plenty of ways in which South India spruces up their favourite grain in the form of idlis and dosas. 

Here are six rice dishes from different parts of India that you should definitely try. 

1. Bisi Bele Bhaat

Popular in Karnataka, Bisi Bele Bhaat is lentil-rice combination infused with South Indian flavours. Vegetables like beans, carrots and tomatoes are added to the one pot dish which is generally cooked in a pressure cooker. Add tamarind to the lentil and you will get the southy feels. 

2.  Puffed Rice 

For the uninitiated, puffed rice is a type of rice that is soaked and partially boiled. The puffy grains are obtained once the rice has been steamed and dried. That’s how you get your favourite bhel puri and churmuri and even jhal muri from Bengal. 

3.  Ven Pongal 

Another delight from the South Indian fare, ven pongal is relished as comfort food in many households down south. The porridge-like consistency of this moong dal and rice dish is quite a hit with the taste buds. Sprinkle some black pepper and you are good to go. 

4.  Poha 

Poha is famous for its Maharashtrian and Indori variations. This breakfast staple of both regions is served with sev and bhujia in one part and with jalebi in the other. The flattened rice is soaked in water and spruced up with potatoes, onions and whatever you like. The hint of cumin seeds adds a strong flavour to the dish. 

5.  Dhansak 

The famous Parsi delicacy which is a rich and meaty affair is made from rice too. The thick lentil and meat preparation is mixed with slightly caramelized rice, giving the entire dish a brownish hue. 

6.  Kheer 

Kheer is a famous Indian rice pudding that has been adapted in several ways across the country. From South India’s rich and creamy payasam to north’s complex yet delicious phirni, the milk and rice combination has never failed to impress us Indians. 

Which one of these would you like to try today?