Bamboo Rice Plant- Tribal Rice That Tastes Like Wheat

Who does not love rice? We all do, right!! Rice is the staple food in many households around the world. Rice makes an indispensable part of any meal in most south asian households, and why not? It has given us some great culinary experiences with its exceptional aroma and simple taste. Bamboo rice plant is one of the peculiar rice. People have experimented with rice for many years, turning it into different dishes. 

Bamboo rice

However, different rice varieties may not be as popular, but they make our history of rice richer and more intriguing. One type of rice is bamboo rice, aka Mulayari, a beautiful and natural short grain, which is the last souvenir of a dying bamboo shoot. Let us know more about this ‘tribal’ rice that may be uncommon but has an exciting harvest story.

The Untold Story Of Bamboo Rice 

  • Bamboo rice is special rice grown out of a dying bamboo shoot. When the bamboo shoot breathes its last, it flowers into a rare variety of rice seeds known as bamboo rice.
  • It is said that bamboo rice harvesting is a significant source of income for the tribal communities living in the interiors of Wayanad Sanctuary in Kerala.
  • The sanctuary makes a rich habitat for bamboo groves, where many small tribal communities still bide. Harvesting and collecting this rice is their source of income and their daily food intake.
  • You will find women and children from these indigenous communities in the region collecting and selling these seeds.

 The Difference With Regular Rice

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

Difference of bamboo rice and Regular Rice

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 make 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 on festival days. 

Farming Of Bamboo Rice

You can also grow bamboo rice plants on your farm. Growing bamboo plants is not a big part, but it is challenging; it takes years before harvesting. You can grow bamboo plants on different soil types, but red soil is the best choice. You can also grow bamboo plants on the borders of orchards and gardens. 

Farming Of Bamboo Rice

If you want to cultivate it, raise seedlings at a spacing of 5 X 5m, the clump formation generally takes place in the third or fourth year. You can observe Full-grown culms by the sixth year. On a three per hectare at the first cut,5-6 tonnes at the second cut, and 8 tonnes for the third. Assuming a life cycle of 32 years, when the clump dies due to gregarious flowering. Thus, the total yield per hectare is about seventy to seventy-four tonnes over the entire life of the plantation.

Harvesting And Processing Of Bamboo Rice 

Likewise, in regular rice, you harvest bamboo rice after-ripening of seeds. You can also go for 2 to 3 cuttings in some developed varieties. You need to cut the whole culm from the bottom for harvesting, including top profuse inflorescence. After that flowers, you need to suspend the flowers from the top.You remove the flowers after harvesting and dry them in the sun properly. Further processing is like regular rice, and you could even polish it.

processing of bamboo rice

Health Benefits Of Bamboo Rice Plant

Like any other rice, Bamboo rice is rich in various nutrients, including carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. It is believed that bamboo rice has a low glycemic index compared to other rice varieties, which is considered a healthier option for people with diabetes. The rice has low or no fat and is rich in vitamin B. The tribes in Kerala use this rice to cure joint pain due to its immense calcium and phosphorus content. Other several health benefits of the bamboo rice plant are as follows.

  • Tribals in Kanyakumari, India, consume bamboo rice to treat fertility problems.
  • Compared to regular rice and wheat, protein content is higher in bamboo rice.
  • It helps heal joint pain, rheumatic pain, and back pain.
  • Bamboo rice aids in diabetes and high cholesterol problems.
  • It is rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B3, C and has the lowest fat level.
  • This rice improves appetite and digestion.


cooking bamboo rice

Bamboo Rice, also known as Mulayari, is the seed of a dying bamboo shoot produced at the end of its life span. According to research, it is an essential and significant source of income for tribals living in the forests. This rice is commonly not available because it takes many years for an aged plant to flower from which this short-grain rice is extracted.

Its processing and harvesting are similar to regular rice. You can cook this grain like rice, and it tastes more like wheat. Rich in Vitamins and other nutrients and low in fat, It has several health benefits and is beneficial for diabetic and other chronic patients.

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