Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 2 hours ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WABE 90.1 FM

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 1 hour ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 KPCW KPCW | PO Box 1372 | 460 Swede Alley | Park City | UT | 84060 Office: (435) 649-9004 | Studio: (435) 655-8255

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The Insider: David Thompson

MEMORABLE DESTINATION
Iran. It offered everything I like, which is people, history, culture, food, architecture and nature. And it was outside of the normal working experience. A highlight was a visit to Yazd, where we found dishes like grilled camel, pomegranate salads and braised bitter greens, and sat in squares more than 1000 years old. The people were very hospitable and welcoming. Then, nearby, there’s Egypt, Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
David Thompson, chef, restaurateur and writer. TRAVEL TIP
Read Next If you’re not a member, buy an airline lounge pass, especially if you have a long flight layover. Travel light (if anyone has any tips, I’d be grateful). The delight of journeys is the sense of discovery. I don’t travel for food usually. But if I can’t find a good place to eat I do tend to sulk.
COMING UP
I’ll be making my way around Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, in part to introduce new menus for my Long Chim restaurants in each city. After that I’m off to Korea, Hong Kong and on to Europe before wending my way back home (with too much luggage) in Bangkok.
David Thompson is considered a world authority on Thai cuisine. He embraces a food philosophy of fare inspired by the markets of Bangkok; longchimsydney.com .

HOME + AWAY
The gilded lobby of The Peninsula, Manila. Where does le tout Manila gather for high tea, lively cocktails and power meetings? The gilded lobby of The Peninsula, of course, opened in 1976 and still the city’s most celebrated hotel. In fact there’s extra reason to charge the champagne flutes as Forbes Travel Guide has recently awarded five stars to all members of the Peninsula group, a first for any accommodation brand. Next in line is The Peninsula London, due to open on Hyde Park Corner in 2021 and destined to bolster the collective ratings. Meantime in The Philippines, the band plays on from a balustraded balcony overlooking parallel rows of palm trees, two sweeping marble staircases and an extraordinary sunburst pattern set into a silver-lined dome. The refurbished lobby is the venue for a tea service from 2.30pm-5.30pm daily, with dainty cakes, scones and savouries arrayed across tiered stands and served on floral-patterned fine china. And until May 31, a Forbes Five-Star special offer honours the group’s accolades with extras for direct bookings, such as guestroom category upgrades (subject to availability), early check-in from 9am and late check-out to 7pm, and a 3000 peso ($80.50) dining or spa credit per room.
• peninsula.com
Susan Kurosawa

TRAVEL
Around the World in 80 Food Trucks. Lonely Planet $29.99 If you’ve ever grabbed a bite from a food truck and thought, “I wish I could make that at home”, then Lonely Planet is on the case. The veteran travel publisher’s Around the World in 80 Food Trucks traverses the globe, sampling the wares of vans from Mumbai to Mullumbimby, and reproducing recipes for crowd-pleasing takeaways. If the food doesn’t grab your attention, maybe the van names will. How about Fidel Gastro’s, a truck in Toronto that serves bacon-wrapped beef balls called Alabama Tailgaters. In LA, Yeastie Boys stuffs bagels with cheese and jalapenos boiled in beer, while in London, Mother Clucker serves southern fried chicken from a converted former US Army ambulance. It’s a truly multicultural cookbook. Think: Japanese noodles devised in Lima; an Indian take on poutine and Mexican-Korean cuisine cooked up in Russia. The photos look delicious, too; $29.99.
• lonelyplanet.com
Penny Hunter

ON THE ROAD
THE CHAI ROOM CHAI LOVERS’ TASTER BOX, 30G, $30
The Chai Room Chai Lovers’ Taster Box, 30g, $30. There’s a 5g sample of six tea leaf blends from Sydney-based The Chai Room in this taster box, complete with brewing tips and a mesh infuser to fit most teapots or keep cups. The combos include turmeric and coconut nectar or raw honey, original masala, ginger masala and, most delicious of all, saffron, cardamom and rose, blended with Ceylon, Darjeeling, Assam and Yunnan premium single estate leaf teas. Also available in 40g glass jars (pictured; $15) or resealable packs in several sizes (100g; $12.95), including a caffeine-free option of rooibos and raw honey.
• thechairoom.com
Susan Kurosawa
RIMOWA + BANG & OLUFSEN BEOPLAY H9I HEADPHONES, $1310
RIMOWA + Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H91 Headphones. The Danish audio electronics giant has teamed with premium luggage brand Rimowa to create a pair of top-shelf headphones designed with the frequent traveller in mind. Housed in a miniature version of Rimowa’s signature aluminium case, the limited-edition headphones feature an innovative touch interface. They’re also noise cancelling, so there’s no need to endure crying babies or noisy sleepers on long-haul flights. Materials used include anodised aluminium and genuine leather and they come in a chic soft grey.
• bang-olufsen.com
• rimowa.com
Penny Hunter

WHAT IN THE WORLD
• Vietnam Airlines has discounted flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, plus Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia; return economy fares range from $500 to $550 for bookings by April 30 for travel to February 28 next year.
• Ramada Resort by Wyndham Eco Beach Broome is offering three-night stays for $200 in May in its garden-view glamping tents; the price represents a 70 per cent discount on usual rates; the resort is 120km south of Broome overlooking a pristine bay.
• Azamara Club Cruises has announced a 42-night Grand Voyage: Europe Triple Tour for May 2020; passengers will travel on all three of the line’s ships, Azamara Journey, Quest and Pursuit, and sail the Mediterranean to the Baltics, from Athens to Copenhagen; from $20,900 a person, twin-share.
• Scenic is selling its 2020 Southeast Asia river cruises at 2019 prices for bookings by June 30; itineraries range from 11 to 18 days on the Mekong and Irrawaddy; flights, early bird savings and single supplement discounts are on offer.

A LITTLE FLIGHT READING
NEW MAP ITALY
HERBERT YPMA
Thames & Hudson, $59.99
New Map Italy by Herbert Ypma. Dutch-born Herbert Ypma’s best-selling HIP Hotels series turned travel publishing upside down in the late 1990s. These drool-worthy compendiums of “highly individual places”, complete with Ypma’s striking photography, became de rigueur for accommodation junkies seeking the most desirable lodgings on the planet. Now he’s branched into books with more coverage on food, wine, design, culture and “secrets”, but still with an emphasis on where to stay. New Map Italy crosses multiple regions and is full of itinerary recommendations but perhaps most useful for readers are details of best lodgings. He features about 60 hotels, from the Amalfi Coast to Venice. While the tried and traditional figure in abundance, there are smaller entries, too, such as Casa Talia in Modica, Sicily, created by two Milanese architects across a pair of charming stone-walled cottages with 10 guestrooms. On the banks of the Arno River in Florence, Riva Lofts is a cool collection of workshops repurposed as accommodation. The coffee-table volume is packed with excellent photography but the content is not well organised. There’s something rather Italian about such a carefree approach. Buon viaggio.
Susan Kurosawa

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Edible Archive project to revive hundreds of disappearing Indian rice trunks: The salt: NPR

0 4
Some of the 20 different varieties of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Cooks served two types of rice daily as well as several dishes with vegetables, meat or seafood.
Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Switch titles
Salam Olattayil / for NPR Some of the 20 different varieties of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Cooks served two types of rice daily as well as several dishes with vegetables, meat or seafood.
Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar lovingly remembers her father’s love of rice – and his desire to have certain varieties of rice – with every special meat or fish dish cooked in the kitchen.
She even remembers traveling long distances from her home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. It motivated him, he says, not only his interest in food, but also the nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this memory, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
It is well known that India has grown thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice – also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient predecessor of Persian Biryani – were found in Sangam literature from the 5th century BC. Already a century ago, communities throughout India built their own rice trunks and consumed them according to seasonal or kitchen needs.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machines replaced manual labor and seed was produced with “high-yielding varieties,” agricultural production increased dramatically, but some hybrid rice trunks took over hundreds of indigenous people.
The Edible Archives Project aims to introduce the diversity of rice cultivated in India and draw attention to those who have almost disappeared from the country’s food landscape or are only grown in small communities.
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar draws Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu) into the bowls of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is active in rice research as well as cooking for the project “Edible Archives”.
Courtesy of Edible Archives
Switch titles
Courtesy of Edible Archives Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar draws Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu) into the bowls of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is active in rice research as well as cooking for the project “Edible Archives”.
Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We do not document anything in India, so most of the old rice varieties are gone and the expert knowledge about them,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources several varieties of organic heritage rice and sells a few for this project.
The edible archive was officially opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, an arts festival that took place from December 12 to March 29 in the southern Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two types of rice daily, as well as several dishes with vegetables, meat or seafood. All this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is drowned out in restaurants, especially outside of India, as classic Indian cuisine such as butter chicken), with local vegetables like drumstick (Moringa in vegetable form) and Pumpkins are used Chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was not just to present rice in all its glory, but to preserve the dwindling knowledge of cooking methods and to revive lost recipes.
To refresh, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Mayan dish, combined with the white sweet quinine atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the strong smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works to balance out all the aromas and scents,” says Somasundaram.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 varieties of rice from all over India, many of which were unknown outside of the growing area – such as the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The Rice of the Day was described on a board at the venue and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Dastidar says that most Indians “have an archive of travel memories that we wanted to bring together,” and says out of their own nostalgia. In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop entitled “Recipes for Rice and Remembrance,” which included talks, cooking demonstrations, memories, and even songs with rice.
With regard to the latter, Bala points out that over the centuries, rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature, from a Bengali lullaby in which the angelic stars are asked to put the baby to sleep, and are promised delicious food – including three types of rice – devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu, which equate rice with prosperity.
In fact, rice was an important, extraordinary part of Indian rituals – from the ceremony of feeding a baby first to rice porridge as solid food, over the turmeric-infused yellow rice that was showered as a blessing at weddings, until the last voyage Rice was a victim of the dead soul. Even the sick are fed Kanji or Khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisine and learned how cooks in these countries focus on cereals from their own microregions. Long before the idea of ​​the Edible Archives took shape, Dastidar experimented with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black rice risotto (a cereal with starch content similar to Arborio) in New Delhi’s popular Diva restaurant, where she worked as a sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to procure rice for edible archives – all purchased directly from small farmers or from farming collectives and non-governmental organizations that work with farmers. The exploration phase included contributions from experts such as dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and cultivated 1,300 rice varieties on his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who has established a rice museum in Karnataka, where more than 40,000 people live 850 varieties.
One of the rice bowls served at the festival includes kattuyanam, roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, gourd, mango, dal and cucumber salad, and mustard micro-greeting.
Courtesy of Edible Archives
Switch titles
Courtesy of Edible Archives One of the rice bowls served at the festival includes kattuyanam, roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, gourd, mango, dal and cucumber salad, and mustard micro-greeting.
Courtesy of Edible Archives
In addition to the records of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carbohydrate.” A typical example are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple food: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index, which makes them ideal for diabetics, and the latter is high-fiber and rich in selenium to colon and colon cancer to fight . The chefs took this information from scientific articles and agricultural magazines as well as from the home magazine of Basudha.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events throughout the country and possibly abroad. There have been few in Indian cities, and one in Paris in June focuses on the cuisine of the seven northeastern states of India, which are largely under-researched in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The cooks say they wanted to continue the dialogue with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet”.
Bala puts it this way: “We must continue the celebration of a cereal that offers food, comfort, nutrition and happiness at the same time.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India who writes about travel, food, arts and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveler (India). Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi

Read More…

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 2 hours ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WAER

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 2 hours ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 New Hampshire Public Radio

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 1 hour ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WYPR

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 1 hour ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WUOT

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5 Most expensive countries to travel and their budget friendly alternatives

Their are many beautiful countries in the world to travel, some of them are very expensive to travel. But today I am going to tell you about the best alternatives of most expensive countries to travel in the world. These cheaper alternatives of the most expensive countries in the world is budget friendly and beautiful. It will definitely gives you a very amazing traveling experience in low price. If you travel in any expensive countries like Switzerland or Singapore, the rate of living is very high and sometimes you can not get what you pay for. But in these budget friendly countries, you can get good quality services in low prices. So, let’s know the alternatives of most expensive countries in the world to travel. Image credit – Pixabay 1. Forget Switzerland, Visit Slovenia Switzerland is very attractive and famous travel destination in the world. It is also a most visited place in the world, which is famous for skiing and beautiful villages, Switzerland is a very expensive destination to travel. The normal cost of Midrange and upscale hotel rooms is between $280 and $700, in some expensive cities like Zurich and Geneva you have to pay more higher amount. Everything is very expensive in Switzerland. Instead of visiting Switzerland, you can visit Slovenia, which is located at the northeastern side of Italy, where you can get hotels, ski passes and tasty cuisine at very affordable rates. Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia is a cultural attraction in the country. Come here in summer to enjoy at the bustling cafes along side the cobblestoned streets. Ljubljana is one of the most affordable capitals in Europe, with lots of midrange options under $140. This place gives you a total experience of Switzerland at affordable prices. Image credit – Pixabay 2. Forget Singapore, Visit Malaysia Singapore offers a beautiful mixture of traditional and modern lifestyle. But, if you want to make your Singapore trip budget friendly then try to book room in hostel or guesthouse. If you get a room in hotel then you have to pay very high amount. The street food costs is affordable for everyone, but a night in the city can be very costly compared to nearby countries, like Bangkok. On the other side, Malaysia is best alternative of Singapore with its glowing capital, Kuala Lumpur, which offers multiculturalism and modernity like Singapore at very affordable cost. Here you can get good accommodations for $70 to $100. Kuala Lumpur has many amazing places to explore, such as mosque minarets, colonial buildings with skyscrapers and many more. The city maintains its mixture of different cultural influences of Malay, Chinese, and Indian. Here you can explore delicious street-side cuisine, architecture and art museums. If you want to enjoy some peaceful time far from the cities rush then head towards the Malaysia’s hillside tea plantations, lush jungle and beautiful beaches. The Cameron Highlands is a perfect destination to visit, if you wish to enjoy locally grown tea and hikes. The Penang island in Malaysia is very famous tourist destination for its vibrant street art and cafes in a colonial-era buildings. Wildlife and nature lovers should definitely head to Borneo to see some unique species of wild orangutans and elephants. Don’t forget to go for scuba diving and trekking in dense rainforest. Here you can also explore Malaysia’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu. Image credit – Pixabay 3. Forget Japan, Visit Taiwan The country of rising sun, Japan is well known for its amazing culture and lifestyle. Japanese people are very innovative, their cuisine, stunning mountain scenery and easy transportation system makes you feel amaze. But traveling in Japan is not so budget-friendly, here you have to paid minimum $250 or more for living in Midrange hotels and if you want luxury accommodations, then it can exceed up to $1,000 per night. The train system is very convenient in Japan, but a one-way trip from Tokyo to Kyoto can cost you around $170. Taiwan is amazing destination to explore which delivers many beautiful attractions like Japan with its modern capital. Taiwan has beautiful natural beauty and an excellent food options, all in affordable cost. Taipei, Taiwan’s capital has lack of dozens of night markets, world-class museums, monuments and nightlife to discover. Here you can visit to Shilin Night Market to taste some local cuisines. This biggest indoor food court has over 500 stalls, which serves different types of dishes to their customers. The Taroko National Park attracts lots of visitors with its deep and beautiful rushing Liwu River. A network of trails goes from the high mountains, suspension bridges and gushing waterfalls. Some other town of Taiwan such as Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung offer a lesser-known regional delicacies, shirin and gardens to explore. Image credit – Pixabay 4. Forget UAE, Visit Oman The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a most popular tourist destination, especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi. These cities offers many unique attractions for visitors, such as Louvre, private island and the tallest tower in the world, Burj Khalifa. But all are incredibly expensive. Most budget friendly midrange hotels in Dubai can charge you between $200 and $300, while luxury hotels will cost you around $600 per night. Meanwhile, Oman is also a very good alternative of UAE, which offers some extraordinary landscapes at a very affordable prices. Muscat, capital of Oman offers you a style and glamour like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The streets of Muscat, forts and mosques are beautifully maintained. Go and visit to the Mutrah Fort, which is situated on a cliff overlooking corniche. The corniche is best place for walking and outdoor cafes. There are hundreds of local vendors selling traditional handicrafts, cuisine, spices, and lots more. Muscat is most expensive city of Oman, but any midrange hotels can still cost you under $100 per night. There are endless sand dunes, coastlines, high mountains, and deepest canyons to explore. These canyons are known as wadis in Arabic, which are water collecting point for limited rainfall in Oman. Image credit – Pixabay 5. Forget Maldives, Visit Mauritius There are thousands of islands in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is one of them, which known as a most gorgeous destination to visit. Most of the resorts in Maldives have their own private islands with luxury facilities. The beautiful white-sand beaches with blue water looks amazing. The locals are now permitted to build and manage their own accommodations. Maldives is a remote location, so the majority of foods and supplies to be imported, which makes their prices higher. The normal charge for staying here is around $250 per night and luxury prices goes into the thousands. The Indian Ocean has no any shortage of beautiful islands, so if you want to make your trip amazing and budget friendly then head to the Mauritius instead of going to expensive Maldives. There are many beautiful beaches and lagoons like Maldives to enjoy. Most of the beach side hotels offers a variety of water sports activities, such as kayaking, submarine ride, glass-bottom boat and snorkeling. Mauritius also has best diving spots for exploring marine life. Flic en Flac and Grand Baie are best for swimming and water sports activities in Mauritius. Here you can also enjoy waterfalls and hikes through dense forest. Mauritius is not totally cheapest place, but all-inclusive resorts and hotels can be booked at $250 per night, which is a very affordable value compared to the Maldives.

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Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains

Edible Archives Project Aims To Revive Hundreds Of Vanishing Indian Rice Strains By Charukesi Ramadurai • 1 hour ago Some of the 20 different types of rice used during the three-month festival Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India. Chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. Salam Olattayil / for NPR
Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar fondly remembers her father’s love for rice — and his insistence on having specific kinds of rice — with each special meat or fish dish cooked in their kitchen.
She even has memories of him making long road trips from their home in Kolkata, India, to other parts of the state of West Bengal to buy local rice. What motivated him, she says, was not just his interest in food but also nostalgia for his childhood.
Edible Archives was born partly from this recollection, with chef Anurima Ghosh Dastidar as curator, along with chef Prima Kurien and two food writers who were also invited to cook.
India is known to have cultivated thousands of varieties of rice, and references to rice — also combined with vegetables and meat, an ancient precursor to biryani, which came from Persia — have been found in Sangam literature from the 5th century B.C. Even a century ago, communities across India grew their own strains of rice, and consumed them according to the needs of the season or the cuisine.
During the Green Revolution in the 1960s, when machinery replaced manual work and “high-yield variety” seeds were promoted, agricultural output increased dramatically, but a few hybrid rice strains took over from hundreds of indigenous ones.
The Edible Archives Project aims to showcase the sheer range of rice varieties grown in India, and throw the spotlight specifically on those which have almost vanished from the country’s foodscape or are grown only in small communities. Chef Anumitra Ghosh Dastidar scoops Kattuyanam (a red rice from Tamil Nadu), into bowls at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. She is instrumental in both rice research and cooking for the Edible Archives project. Courtesy of Edible Archives
“We don’t document anything in India, so most of the old rice strains are gone, and the expert knowledge about them too,” says Jayanthi Somasundaram, whose Spirit of the Earth collective sources and sells several varieties of organic heritage rice, including a few for this project.
Edible Archives formally opened at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale , an art festival that ran from Dec. 12 through March 29 in the south Indian city of Kochi, currently in its fourth edition. At the event, the chefs served two varieties of rice every day, along with multiple dishes of vegetables and meat or seafood. All of this was in what Dastidar calls “homestyle cooking” (as opposed to what is passed off in restaurants, especially outside India, as classic Indian cuisine, like butter chicken), using local vegetables such as drumstick ( moringa in vegetable form) and gourds. Writer-chef Priya Bala adds that the idea was also to present not just rice in all its glory, but preserve the dwindling knowledge about cooking methods, as well as revive lost recipes.
To spice things up, the chefs also played with fusion presentations, such as a Korean marinated egg over the aromatic Tulaipanji rice from West Bengal (a hit combination, as it turned out) and the Chicken Pepian, a Guatemalan Maya dish paired with the white, sweetish Chini Atap rice, also from the same Indian state, to complement the robust smokiness of the meat. “Most importantly, the chefs also explained how pairing works, so as to balance all flavors and fragrances,” Somasundaram says.
In three months, the team cooked with nearly 40 rice varieties from all over India, many of them not familiar to anyone outside the region of cultivation — like the Bahurupi from the state of Odisha or the Kattuyanam from Tamil Nadu. The rice of the day was described on a board at the venue, and on the social media pages of Edible Archives.
Drawing from her own nostalgia, Dastidar says that most Indians have “an archive of rice memories, which we wanted to bring together.” In the midst of all the cooking and eating, there was also a two-day workshop called “Recipes of Rice and Remembrance” that included talks, cooking demonstrations, reminiscences and even songs related to rice.
Speaking of the latter, Bala points out that rice has found a place in Indian culture and literature over the ages, from a Bengali lullaby asking the angel aunties to come and put the baby to sleep, promising them delicious food in return — including three types of rice — to devotional songs from the state of Tamil Nadu that equate rice with prosperity.
Indeed, rice has been an important, exceptional part of Indian rituals — from the ceremony during which a baby is first fed mashed rice as solid food , to the turmeric-infused yellow rice showered as blessing at weddings, to the final journey, where rice is an offering to the departed soul. Even the sick are fed kanji or khichuri (loose rice porridge, with or without lentils) as comfort food.
Dastidar has trained in Italian, Japanese and Thai cuisines, and learned how chefs in those countries tend to focus on grains from their own microregions. Much before the Edible Archives idea took shape, Dastidar was experimenting with rice varieties; think Manipuri Black Rice Risotto (a grain with starch content similar to Arborio) at New Delhi’s popular restaurant Diva, where she was sous chef for many years.
With this experience, she traveled across the country to source the rice for Edible Archives — all of it was bought directly from small farmers or through agriculture collectives and non-governmental organizations who worked with cultivators. The exploratory phase included inputs from experts such as Dr. Debal Deb, who has researched and grown 1,300 varieties of rice at his farm Basudha in Odisha, and organic farmer Syed Ghani Khan, who established a rice museum in Karnataka that is home to more than 850 varieties. One of the rice bowls served at the festival, this dish contains Kattuyanam, along with roasted pumpkin, cauliflower, ridge gourd, mango, dal, and cucumber salad and mustard microgreens. Courtesy of Edible Archives
Along with creating a record of cultural connotations and memories, Edible Archives also shared nutritional information about the rice of the day, trying to dispel the myth that rice is just a “bad carb.” Case in point are two varieties from Tamil Nadu, where rice is the staple: Kattuyanam and Seeraga Samba, the former with a low glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetics, and the latter highly fibrous and rich in selenium to fight colon and intestinal cancers. The chefs gleaned this information from scientific articles and agricultural journals, as well as from Basudha’s in-house magazine.
In the future, Edible Archives plans to hold pop-up events across the country and eventually abroad. There have already been a few in Indian cities, and one in Paris coming up in June that will focus on cuisine from India’s seven northeast states, which are still largely under-explored in terms of tourism, culture and cuisine. The chefs say they mean to keep the dialogue going with talks and lectures “wherever food and culture meet.”
As Bala puts it, “we need to continue the celebration of a grain that is sustenance, comfort, nutrition and auspiciousness all at once.”
Charukesi Ramadurai is a freelance journalist from India, writing about travel, food, art and culture for BBC Travel, The Guardian, Forbes and National Geographic Traveller (India), among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @charukesi

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