A truly unique product from the North Eastern state of Tripura is bamboo rice. This exotic immunity boosting rice launched during the pandemic by the proactive state and central government is prepared from the seeds of 30- to 40-year-old bamboo plants.
According to the locals, no part of the bamboo be it the tender shoots or rare flowers goes unused here. Bamboo generally flowers in 20 – 25 years and its seeds that look like rice are found in abundance at that time. They are cleaned and dehusked like paddy to prepare the final product. The seeds of the Mritinga and muli bamboo are used by the tribals to prepare their local delicacies.
Bamboo rice is recommended for pregnant women and to treat diabetes, joint pains and high cholesterol and fat. It is packed with vitamins and protein. Though bamboo rice is largely an acquired taste, it has a natural sweetness and a light earthy flavour.
Bamboo flower rice is a goldmine for the locals as Tripura has over 21 known species of bamboo grown in over 3,500 sq. km area of forests and planned forestry. This commercially viable product will create employment, make the locals self-reliant and significantly improve the rural economy.
Bamboo rice as of now is priced at Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per kg in the local markets. The state and central government have undertaken several initiatives to promote this short-grain rice as an alternative health food in the domestic and international markets.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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