Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Yup! Rice it is alright. I come from a region in India where rice and rice products form the staple food. Traditionally, we have breakfast items made out of rice powder, and we have boiled rice for lunch and dinner afterwards as well. Times have changed now and a lot of people have substituted rice with wheat products like bread and chapati, etc. But wheat products were not so common in Kerala until a couple of generations ago. Everyone just had rice.
So we have umpteen possibilities for eating rice. The stuff that we pair it with is different everyday. Sometimes vegetables, sometimes meat, sometimes curd & pickle, or sometimes just ghee and a pappadam ^_^ In fact, most of the while, we eat rice with a lot of elaboration, deliberation and celebration…
The thing I like the most about the rice we have here is that it is not the usual long grained rice you get to see in typical Indian dishes like Biriyani. We have a kind of parboiled reddish brown rice that is extremely good for health (or so they say) called matta rice…and I am compelled to believe it too.
Kerala was originally an agricultural society and if you look at the pictures of old Kerala, you’d see very few unhealthy looking people.
They all look lean and muscular with little or no body fat. They used to do very exhausting work on the fields and it was essential that their stamina be maintained all through the day. If you see the quantity of rice an average Malayali eats for lunch, any diet conscious soul would cringe.
They have always had enormous quantities of rice and nothing made them fat. I still know of people who actually eat little mounds of rice for lunch ^_^
Recently, I found an article online that listed out the benefits of matta rice () and I understood why Malayalis remained so slim back then. Kerala cuisine is heavily based in ancient Ayurveda and it goes without saying that Ayurvedic physicians would have definitely seen the benefits of the locally grown matta rice. Otherwise they would have surely objected.
Most of the rice we consumed was grown in our own farms and hence there was no worry of any pesticides and all that. So it was rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Cheap, easily available, filling and healthy too! Did you know that eating matta rice keeps you satiated for longer than eating regular white rice?
Though times have changed now, I am still a Malayali and If I had to survive on just one food for the rest of my life, I’d choose only rice ^_^