Kuruluthuda Rice

Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

Kuruluthuda rice (Oryza sativa) comes from a word meaning ‘bird’s beak’, and is a delectable and nutritious red rice variety, rich in proteins and fibre, said to improve bladder function, and proven to have a 25% to 30% lower Glycemic Index (GI) compared other common rice varieties. It is mostly grown by smallholder famers in the in the lowland areas of Sri Lanka through rain fed cultivation. Organic cultivation can take up to 5-6 months to harvest time. Kuruluthuda rice is best when soaked in water for 20 prior to cooking, and is often boiled with a bit of salt and pandan leaves. This variety features in many Sri Lankan recipes, such as Kuruluthuda cooked in aromatic red onion and garlic oil, steamed Kuruluthuda (cooked with cardamom), and curry leaf tempered rice with five spices. Moist rice can also be ground into a flour in homes with the use of a mortar and pestle. The rice flour figures in many other sweet and savoury Sri Lankan dishes. Rice in Sri Lanka is also used to treat skin conditions, medicinally and cosmetically. Boiled and cooled rice is mashed and made into a paste or moulded into balls to be applied to boils, sores, swellings and skin blemishes. Rice extracts like starch and oil are used in a range of cosmetic and hygiene products, considered to have moisturizing and nourishing effects on the hair and skin. Heirloom rice is indispensible in Sri Lanka, both as a staple food in daily life and an important part of the folklore of the country. Sri Lanka was once renowned as the granary of the East, offering more than 2000 indigenous rice varieties to the rest of the world. A delicious range of tropical food and warm hospitality served as the backbone of the country, enticing explorers such as Vasco da Gama and writers such as Robert Knox to this tropical island in the sun. The country itself is like a wholesome and bountiful field where in which a random seed that is thrown will spread its roots and bear fruit in no time. But Kuruluthuda and other heirloom rice varieties unique to Sri Lanka were facing extinction due to local farmers pursuing faster growing, higher yielding hybrid varieties and industrial growing methods. However, smallholder famer communities (including some women-run communities) of Sri Lanka have now revived this traditional rice variety, and it is available for the urban market. Production capacity is approximately 5-6 tons a months depending on seasonality and harvesting cycles. Consumers are now starting to understand the value of heirloom rice varieties, due to awareness campaigns carried out and the increased demand for these healthy alternatives. Photo: saaraketha.com 

Back to the archive >

Other info


Cereals and flours