Bamboo Rice: Everything You Need To Know

Rice is a prominent food and privilege of Indian people. Most South and North Indian households prepare rice for lunch. Rice has a unique aroma and various culinary uses that tastes simple. Indians have been having rice in their lunches for centuries. Not only for meals, but the rice is used to make different dishes like Idly, Dosa, and more.

Kheer or Payasam is a sweet dish that also includes a kind of rice in them. There are numerous varieties of rice available now. Even the people who mainly use rice also don’t know some rice varieties and their history. One of the unknown rice varieties is Bamboo Rice, also called Mulayari, a natural short grain, and the last thing we get from the mature bamboo plant before it dies.

Bamboos have almost 50 to 60 years of lifetime. We could know it is going to die when it blooms flowers. It may be difficult to believe, but Yes, bamboo plants flower only one in their 50 to 60 years of life, then they bear fruit and die. 

There are two different types of Bamboo rice used by Asian people; one is real bamboo rice, and another one is prepared by infusing the juice of bamboo plant in grains in green.

Let’s look into depth the untold history of Bamboo rice, its appearance, storage process, health benefits, and some easy recipes with bamboo rice.

In this Article

What Is Bamboo Rice? – Unfolding Its Story

The bamboo plant belongs to the grass family and has inflorescence similar to other typical grasses of India, such as rice, wheat, and others.

Bamboo rice, aka Mulayari, is the seeds of a dying bamboo shoot given by the plant at the end of its life. The usual lifetime of a bamboo plant is 50 to 60 years; that is why bamboo rice is not available like other grains as it takes a long time for a bamboo plant to flower from which the short-grain rice is extracted.

Bamboo seeds are called Bamboo rice, which has the same size and shape of regular paddy rice we use. Though they look similar to other grains, it is said that this rice has enormous nutritional content.

The long period of the bamboo shoot to produce inflorescence becomes the reason for this highly nutritious value. The rice is a bit chewy after cooking, which is often given to children and adults for its best nutrition pack.

You can see these plants in the deep Indian forests that mainly grow in clusters. The plants are found to be typically 8 feet tall, and some plants grow even taller. Like other grasses, its juice also tastes good.

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, bamboo juice is used to treat asthma, cough, and detoxify the body organs like the liver. Young bamboo shoots are the best choices to reap the full health benefits of bamboo juice.

In different parts of India, bamboo shoot is used as food because of its medicinal properties. The bamboo flowers have whitish red color and bear 1/3rd inch size seeds in green color earlier that looks like barley seeds.

According to studies and research, cultivating and extracting bamboo rice is an essential and significant income source for various tribal communities living in the Indian forests.

How Does Bamboo Rice Look?

The bamboo plant usually grows in deep cool forests. You can see various types of bamboo plants in and around Kerala, God’s place. There is a sanctuary in Wayanad, Kerala, where you can see tribal community children and women collecting bamboo rice from the bamboo grove. 

Before starting the work, the people clear the place around the bamboo grove and sometimes use a separate cloth around the grove and collect the rice.

In those areas, bamboo rice is a minor forest product, and those tribal people have the right to collect them. Bamboo rice, also called Mulayarisi or Moongil Arisi (in Tamil), is the primary source of income of the tribal people.

Bamboo rice extracted from the bamboo shoots are vibrant green initially and are small shaped. Bamboo rice is also dried like other rice grains to expel the excessive moisture that helps store them for a long time. After the drying process, the seeds or rice become a wheatish color.

Common Names of Bamboo Rice

Botanical Name: Phyllostachysbambusoides
English Name: Bamboo Rice
Tamil Name: மூங்கில் அரிசி / Moongil Arisi
Malayalam Name:മുള അരി / muḷa ari
Telugu Name: వెదురు బియ్యం / Veduru biyyaṁ
Kannada Name: ಬಿದಿರಿನ ಅಕ್ಕಿ / Bidirina akki
Hindi Name: बाँस का चावल / baans ka chaaval
Marathi Name: बांबू तांदूळ / Bāmbū tāndūḷa
Gujarati Name: વાંસ ચોખા / Vānsa cōkhā
Punjabi Name: ਬਾਂਸ ਚਾਵਲ / Bānsa cāvala
Bengali Name: বাঁশের চাল / Bām̐śēra cāla
Urdu Name: بانس چاول

Possible Health Benefits Of Bamboo Rice

Bamboo seeds extracted from grove are later dried and served as Bamboo rice. This rice is highly nutritious that replaces usual rice grains in most of the tribal community households of Northeast and Western ghats as they are allowed to collect the seeds in the forests.

health-benefits-of-bamboo-rice

Bamboo rice has higher protein content than rice and wheat. Not only protein, but it also has vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, and B6, minerals such as calcium, iron, and phosphorus, and fiber, with carbohydrates. With all these contents, the bamboo rice becomes a nutrition-packed grain that is often given to children.

Enhances Fertility

An extensive study done by the Kani tribes of Kanyakumari evaluated the health benefits of bamboo rice. The study found that consuming bamboo rice is helping in reproductive ability and treats fertility.

Treats Rheumatic Pain and Joint Pain

Bamboo is rich in calcium that is essential nutrition for bone health. So, consuming bamboo rice improves and maintains bone health and reduces joint pains, arthritis, rheumatism, and pain in the backbone.

Controls Diabetes

Bamboo rice is less in the glycemic index, which is beneficial for diabetic patients. The abundant amount of iron and phosphorus and low glycemic index of the bamboo rice makes it an ideal food for controlling diabetes, maintaining heart health, and reducing the risks of heart enlargement.

Also Read: Scientifically Proven Herbs for Diabetes

Lowers Cholesterol Level

Bamboo seeds or rice is free of fat. However, the rice’s carbohydrates also increase the glucose levels in the blood at a slow pace; on the whole, the rice is helping in lowering the accumulation of cholesterol levels.

The low glycemic index of bamboo rice is highly beneficial for fat burning. Bamboo rice lowers cholesterol levels and glucose levels in the blood.

Also Read: Natural Herbs & Spices To Lower Cholesterol 

Rich in Protein and Phosphorus Content

The bamboo rice has high protein content, which helps in proper growth and development. The fiber present in this also improves the function of the digestive system. It also assists in weight loss by controlling your consumption of food.Bamboo rice contains almost 218 mg of phosphorus, which is a quite deserving amount for any rice. It helps in teeth and bone formations, and it determines how our body has to use fats and carbohydrates and repairs essential tissues and organs. It accumulates high protein content for further growth. It also combines with B vitamins to ensure muscle contraction, kidney function, heartbeat, and nerve signaling are normal.  Regulates Blood Pressure

Bamboo rice as a regular meal will regulate blood pressure and keep it in check by maintaining minerals such as calcium, iron, and phosphorus. These minerals work together to keep the heart healthy and coordinate brain functions.

Also Read: Best Herbs For Blood Pressure

Nutritional Values of Bamboo Rice

nutritional-values-of-bamboo-rice

Calories

Bamboo rice is enriched with calories, a cup of rice has 160 calories, and 8% suggested Daily Value of 2000. While you have bamboo rice while dieting, it will quickly burn off with your usual daily activities. For instance, 160 calories of a cup of rice can be burned off by 16 minutes jogging or 13 minutes of rope jumping.

Carbohydrates

Bamboo rice has Carbohydrates as its primary calorie source. A cup of bamboo rice contains 34 grams of carbohydrates, which is more than (around 9 grams) a cup of oatmeal. Those who involve more athletic activities can consume bamboo rice as high carb foods help fuel a day and energies the body.

Fiber

Dietary fiber is the vital compound of Carbohydrates. Bamboo seeds are not the rich source of this dietary fiber. A cup of bamboo rice contains 1 gram of fiber. Our body needs fiber to maintain digestive health and make you feel full for a long time. It also keeps blood sugar levels on check.

Protein

Bamboo rice is relatively low in protein than other rice types. A cup of bamboo rice contains 3 grams of protein, half the value that an egg contains. To repair and for the growth of body cells and tissues, we need protein.

Fat

Bamboo rice is entirely free of fat, which may be beneficial for dieting and diabetic patients. However, fat in the body offers energy and makes your body intake vitamins.

The Process of Storing Bamboo Rice

With unpredictable flowering and thorned shoots, bamboo rice is not easy to harvest and store. To obtain perfect and enriched bamboo rice, the area around each bamboo tree should be cleaned and should remove debris. Using sludge of clay, the base of bamboo shoots has to be smoothed and left to dry for some time. After that, bamboo seeds from bamboo shoots are extracted, stored in a prepared place, and collected for consumption.


How is it Different from Other Types of Rice?

To look, bamboo rice is similar to paddy rice. The uncooked rice tastes like wheat yet do not have gluten. The bamboo rice has a pungent smell and is sweet to taste. Bamboo rice is cooked like other rice types.

The only place it differs is in its texture. Bamboo rice becomes moist and sticky after cooking and chewy when consumed. It goes well with dal, sambhar, and other usual Indian curries we made in households. On Pongal, they prepare khichdi or Pongal with this rice that tastes great. Bamboo rice kheer is a delicious savory that many people prepare on auspicious celebrations and love to have on festival days. 


What does Ayurveda say?

According to Ayurveda, bamboo rice is beneficial for pregnant women with vitamin deficiency. It is believed that this rice treats Kapha, Pitta, and other doshas.


Can You Give Bamboo Rice To Children?

The medicinal properties and health benefits of Bamboo rice are many that prove it a healthy supplement for children and adults. An array of nutritions and minerals in the rice make this rice a smart choice for kids in the following ways:

  • It makes the kids energetic with its high carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals contents.
  • It acts as a detoxifier and cleans many vital body organs and improves the functionalities of them.
  • It eases digestion and improves appetite.
  • It helps relieve pain and prevent various bone diseases with its calcium values.
  • It helps in developing and strengthening bones, tissues, and muscles.
  • It aids in teeth development and maintains oral health.

Easy Bamboo Rice Recipes

Bamboo rice becomes sticky after cooking, similar to other usual millets and cereals. So, you should know what all the recipes you can try with this rice type are.

1. Bamboo Rice Powder Porridge

porridge-bamboo-rice

Porridge is the easiest food that kids can consume and digest. Feed this rice porridge to your child every morning that gradually increases his/her weight and makes them active.

Ingredients

  • Bamboo Rice Powder – 1 tbsp
  • Cold Water – 1/2 cup
  • Normal Water – 1 cup
  • Jaggery or Sugar

Preparation

First, wash the bamboo rice thoroughly, let it dry, and grind it to a powder. Take a spoon of this rice powder, mix it with cold water, and make it a slurry. Then, boil a cup of water and add the slurry in it. Blend the mixture and stir until the rice powder gets cooked. After that, add jaggery, or use castor or palm sugar based on the taste of your kids. Boil it few more minutes and let it reduce heat to normal. Now, the Bamboo rice porridge is ready for your children to eat.

2. Bamboo Rice Kheer

bamboo-rice-kheer

Let’s see the most delicious savory prepared from bamboo rice. In Kerala, for almost all the celebrations, the tribal people made this sweet kheer.

Ingredients

  • Bamboo Rice – 1/4 cup
  • Milk – 1/2 ltr
  • Sugar – As per your taste
  • Coconut Milk – 1 cup (thick)
  • Ghee – 1tsp
  • Cashew Nuts – 4 to 5

Preparation

Wash the rice and soak it for 30 minutes. Then cook the rice in a pressure cooker with 3/4 cup of water for six whistles after letting it in simmer for 10 minutes. Take a thick base vessel and boil the milk in it. Add the cooked rice to the boiling milk and cook it until the milk is reduced to half. Stir occasionally. Add the sugar, coconut milk, and cook it for another 10 minutes. Take a small pan, add ghee, and fry the cashew nuts to a light brown color. Now, add the fried cashews to the kheer and serve hot.

3. Bamboo Rice Khichdi

bamboo-rice-khichdi

On the occasion of Pongal, bamboo rice khichdi is prepared. In some places, they make bamboo rice Pongal that has the same preparation but with little differences.

Ingredients

  • Bamboo Rice – 1 cup
  • Moong Dal – 1/3 cup
  • Water – 3 cups
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Cumin – 1 tsp
  • Ginger – 1 tsp finely chopped
  • Cashew Nuts – 5 to 6
  • Curry Leaves – 4 to 5
  • Hing – A pinch
  • Salt – As needed

Preparation

Wash the rice and soak it for 30 minutes. Now, cook the rice and dal in a pressure cooker adding 3 cups of water for six whistles and let it in simmer for another 10 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and hing to the cooked rice. Heat a pan, add ghee, and fry in pepper, cumin, ginger, cashew, and curry leaves. Now, add these fried ingredients to the rice and dal mixture and stir well. Serve hot with coconut chutney. Bamboo rice goes great with fish curry, mutton curry, and other spicy Indian curries or gravies. Buy Bamboo Rice Here

Conclusion

As of now, bamboo rice is not very popular in India, but seeing its origination, nutritional values, we could say that it will become a staple across the country and add to wide rice varieties very soon. According to a few studies of experts, the medicinal values of bamboo rice make it a healthy choice for those suffering from concerned health issues. They expected that bamboo rice would gain good market value in the Indian grocery market within the coming five years.

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