Rice is the staple food of TamilNadu.
In present day, rice is synonymous with farmers and country side.
The tamil language name for rice is "Arisi".
We eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For the dish made using rice for breakfast, the rice is usually in the form of batter or powder. For example, for "Idly" we use rice in a batter form and boil them. For "Puttu" we use the milled powder form.
Rice for lunch or dinner is usually steamed rice on which we will pour main dish like Sambar or Kuzhambu and eat.
In the present day, most widely used rice varieties are Ponni and Samba.
Samba rice is mostly used for making briyani or variety rice.
Unless you go to a Rice speciality store (or "Arisi Mandi" as called in Tamil language), you will see only about 4 types of rice in super markets. They are
1. Idli rice (boiled rice used to make Idli Dosai batter)
2. Rice for lunch (usually called boiled rice or raw rice and rarely half-boiled rice)
3. Seeraga samba rice (used for making Briyani or variety rice)
4. Basmati rice (this is North Indian rice type used for making Briyani or variety rice)
Boiled rice is called Puzhungal arisi in Tamil language. In this type of rice, before it comes to market place, rice frain with its skin on is steamed completely and made to edible form.
Boiled rice is used to make Idli, Dosai and Sadham.
Boiled rice comes with a steamed aroma which is less desired by some people but this rice is easily digestible. Hence it is a preferred diet for old people and young babies.
Unlike Boiled rice, the Raw rice (called Pachai arisi in Tamil language), the rice does not go through steaming process. "Pachai" in Tamil language translates to "Green" or "Raw" in English.
Raw rice is used to make Appam, Puttu, Sadham and Pazhaiya Sadham.
Half Boiled rice:
In half boiled rice, as the name indicates, rice boiled to half the time like the boiled rice. This kind of rice is preferred by some people for making Sadham - steamed rice for lunch.
Other names/Spelling variations in Tamil name for Rice:
Arisi, Arici, Areci, Aresi, Arisee, Nel, Nel payir, Nerpayir
Photo of Raw rice
Photo of Idli rice
Seeraga samba rice:
Nowadays, Seeraga samba rice variety is kind of default when we make Briyani. It is very small when compared to Basmati rice. Seeraga samba rice is perfect for making South Indian style variety rice and Briyani.
Photo of Briyani rice
(picture taken while making Mutton Briyani)