Joha rice (Oryza sativa) is a short-grained rice belonging to a distinct class of aromatic rice. Known for its sweet-scented aroma and taste, the rice is indeed a special heirloom grain of Northeast India. This aromatic rice was considered regal back in the old days. It is so popular that when sold in local markets, it would easily go out of stock.
People so loved its taste. Its popularity increased the price and reputation of the rice. The challenge though is in growing it, as it prone to diseases. Only farmers with large land holdings tend to grow Joha in one part of their land.
Originally from Assam, this rice is also cultivated by the farmers of Garo hills in Meghalaya. The fresh ambiance and ideal weather conditions of Garo hills contributes to the exquisiteness of this rice.
Cultivation of Joha rice is done using traditional methods of farming. Even though this rice is particularly hard to grow, as it has low resistance to diseases, the farmers continue to practice traditional methods of cultivation.
Joha rice is only grown in the Northeast region of India. A special class of scented rice, it is completely different from the famous Basmati rice. It has a delicate texture and rich in anti-oxidant compounds.
When the constituents of Joha rice were extracted with ethanol, it was found to contain proteins, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, carbohydrates and volatile oils. The rice has high level of acetyl and pyrroline, which gives it the sweet aroma. It also has more multivitamins than any other variety of rice.
Joha rice is not only a healthy rice but it is used for making delicious delicacies. During auspicious occasions, the local people usually make tasteful foods using Joha rice, like kheer, pulao, frumenty and arancini. If you pass a house cooking Joha rice, you will find out just by the whiff of this aromatic rice, as it leaves a lingering trail of popcorn like scent.
During Medieval times Frumenty was a popular dish of Western Europeans and it used wheat. However, instead of using wheat, Joha rice can also be used, to elevate the taste of Frumenty.
A more innovative use of such an ancient recipe! Try it out and let us know how it went. Are you interested in reviving your health with ancient plants from Meghalaya, visit our Zizira store to get one.