Shouldn’t idli rice and boiled rice be the same thing? But, when you go to any Indian stores you will find 2 distinct products – idli rice sold separately and boiled rice sold separately. Is there a difference? Let us find out.
Note ->> Indians use the term ‘boiled’ rice to denote par-boiled rice. Tamilians call boiled rice as ‘puzhungal’ arisi.
How it looks
Let us compare the looks of the 2 grains side-by side
The boiled rice looks duller and larger in grain than idli rice. Correspondingly, the idli rice looks shinier and smaller in grain size.
Here’s a look at the grains close up.
I decided to cook them both as rice and observe any differences…
Here’s what boiled rice cooked in pressure cooker 1:2 water ratio looks like:
The boiled rice grains were large and separate. I used them with sambar, yogurt, etc – typical South Indian fashion and it was very good, normal and what one would expect.
Here’s what idli rice cooked in a 1:2 ratio similarly looks like:
The cooked idli rice grains were smaller, softer and stickier than boiled rice grains.
Made into idlis
Now on to the main purpose – idlis!!
Note ->>the idli and batter pictures below will have a grey tinge. That is because I use whole (black) urad dal to make idli batter and not the typical dehusked (white) urad dal.
Here’s the batter and idlis made using boiled rice. As you can see, it is a well-fermented batter.
Here are the idlis from boiled rice – not too soft, but not too hard either. Perfectly fine for a normal breakfast…
Now on to idli rice. Here are the batter and idli pictures made from using idli rice.
Batter – Superbly fermented!!
Here are the idlis:
Idlis – so soft!! In tamil, there is a saying that truly good idlis should be as soft as Jasmine flowers (‘malli-poo’)…Well the idli rice does help a lot in getting to that stage!!
Both style idli batters were made using my vitamix, not a wet grinder.
In conclusion, you can use idli rice and boiled rice interchangeably. You can use either rice to eat as a cooked grain or to make idlis.
But you will get a chewier, sturdier grain with boiled rice.
On the other hand, you will get softer, tastier idlis with idli rice.
This conclusion is probably intuitive for most older cooks, but I think, younger cooks will appreciate the clarity. What has been your experience with either rice? Chime in with your thoughts below….
If you are looking for easy way to make idlis, don’t miss out on this older post: