Gone are the days when you had to soak rice in water and wait for the pressure cooker to signal whether rice has been cooked yet.
You don’t have to worry about over-stirring or raising the temperature while preparing rice in volume anymore.
If you have qualms about me mucking about, you should add rice to your quota of Ready-to-Eat food.
Instead of cup noodles or masala oats, try cooked Komal Saul mashed with sweet jaggery, cream or curd.
Although instant recipes seem to be the order of the day with our busy engagements, the instant quality of Komal Saul has been deeply rooted in Assamese culture since time immemorial.
What is Komal Saul?
Translated from the Hindi word “Komal”, this type of rice is an indigenous variety consumed by the local communities of Assam mainly during religious and social festivals. Unlike other rice varieties, Komal Saul is manually processed from Bora Saul (a glutinous rice variety grown in Majuli).
The harvested rice is first soaked in water overnight and then boiled. The instant rice transformation takes place when the boiled rice is dried in the sun.
The soft and fluffy rice preparation is relished with mash potatoes and mustard oil.
Assam’s regional breakfast or Jolpan contains Komal Saul with roasted and ground rice (xandoh), flattened rice (Chira), puffed rice (Muri) eaten along with sweetened jaggery (Gur), warm milk and curd.
How is Komal Saul different from other rice varieties?
– Cooks on its own. Just soak the rice in warm water for 10 minutes or cold water for 30 minutes. Your rice is ready!!
– With no distinct flavor of its own, it can be used as a versatile ingredient that can adjust to the flavor of any other sweet or strong ingredient.
– Contains less percentage of amylose around 4-5 percent. Amylose is a starch component which renders the hardness of food grains. This results in the unique soft texture of the rice variety.
– Easily digestible and is light on the stomach.
The Future of Instant Rice
The instant quality of Komal Saul presents an immense opportunity in the field of commercial processing and marketing. Green Cover Overseas (Guwahati based export and trading firm) is working towards launching instant rice cups in various flavors.
Although they are yet to decide on the standardization of water to be used with rice, flavors such as pulao, vegetable rice, and moringa powdered rice are in the offing.
Every state seems to have its own favorite variety of rice. With no dearth of rice lovers in our country, there is a rising concern to reduce energy consumption.
Rural households rely on plant biomass to cook rice. So, use of Komal Saul can prevent the exposure to harmful smoke, rendering an ecologically viable environment.
India has a third of the world’s malnourished children. Hence, introduction to rice that can be prepared simply by soaking in water can act as a vital weapon against hunger.
One of the best secrets from Assam’s treasure trove of recipes can only have a mass outreach only when there is the availability of drinkable water.
Unless water is made safe, the dream of Komal Saul becoming a sustainable alternative to regular rice remains a dream.
Image Credits: Google Images