Bengal and its people are known for their rice eating habits. An average Bengali consumes rice every day, some may even consume it twice or thrice a day. Bengalis belong to that community where rice is an integral factor not only in their diet but culture and tradition too. Having said that, do we Bengalis have enough knowledge about the product we are consuming?
The rice that is consumed on a daily basis is parboiled rice, which is once boiled with the husk, and follows a process of soaking, steaming and drying to attain best results. This process gives the grains its distinctive taste, texture and colour. With modernization, machinery is used to complete this process which enables better time management.
The average Bengali household consumes parboiled rice on a daily basis. It is only on special occasions when they eat the other long grained variant, better known as Basmati rice. For the average Bengali parboiled rice is comfort food. It is like their constant companion. Having said that, does the rice eating Bengali know what they are consuming? Usually, when a customer goes for his monthly refill of grocery, they simply ask for the availability, and distinguish on the basis of price, based on the retailer’s verdict.
However, it is important that the consumers learn what they are eating. Most people are not aware of the negative factors which reduce the quality of rice. People are aware of a few variant names of parboiled rice like miniket, 10:10, banskathi, and dudheshwar but only a limited section of people are aware of the process of categorization. It becomes imperative to educate the consumers about what they are consuming and how they can identify the problems, if any.
One of the leading rice merchants of Kolkata, Pragati Edibles has willingly shared their views on how good quality parboiled can be identified and ways of categorizing them.