Alternatives to White Rice

I had this in my to-blog list from really really long time, but a small nudge from my friend helped to get this out here finally. For record, I don’t hate white rice. Not all things white. My entire family, both my kids and  my hubby dear eat white rice every single day for lunch.  So far,  I haven’t tried to lecture them on why they should start eating all I eat.  I firmly believe you should enjoy what you are eating, and eating is very closely connected to soul. Remember the joy you feel when you eat the favorite dish your mother makes for you? 🙂 I do, and my mom makes my list every time I visit her.

Having said that, I’m a person who craves variety. Crazy kind of variety. The easiest way to kill me is to feed the same food everyday.  So, this is out of my own curiosity that I started researching.  You can skip the post here, and happily continue eating your rice – if you still not convinced why you should eat white rice : Read Rujuta Diwekar’s book on Indian Superfoods.

So, now let me deep dive and give the list of items I substitute for rice on a daily basis –

  1. Foxtail Millet :   One of the hard crops , millet variety.  It looks almost similar to yellow mustard seeds.

How to cook?

Water to millet ratio is 1: 2.5.  Soak millets in water for 30 minutes minimum, the longer the better. Cook it in pressure cooker for minimum of 6 whistles.

foxtail millet.jpg

How does it taste?

This is the  closest variant to white rice,  and looks really yummy. Eat it exactly like your white rice,  mix it in pickles, sambar and curd.

2. Steel Cut Oats  :  This is the coarse version of Oats, and not the Instant variety you get in the Supermarkets.  This doesn’t cook in 2 minutes.


How to cook?

Same ratio as Foxtail Millet.

How does it taste?

It has a slight coarse texture to the mouth, not suitable to eat when you want to eat in large quantities.  Very good with liquid varieties such as Sambar and rasam. Put poriyal on the side and enjoy 🙂

3.  Jowar Rawa :  This is whole jowar grounded into Rawa version, now easily available on Amazon. If you are in India, order from,


How to cook?

The rawa to water ratio is 1:2.5, similar to foxtail millet.  Cook like exactly like foxtail millet, and soak it before cooking.

How does it taste?

Good, in fact yummy. This also has nice texture like foxtail millet –  you can have a full meal with this one.

4.  Brown Rice :  The rice with husk, which is said to contain nutrients to nourish human body.


How to cook?

Depends on how soft you want. I use the exact same measurements as foxtail millet. Soak it surely.  Only difference, I leave it for 8 whistles atleast if soaking for less time.  Few times I had tummy pain as I ate half cooked – thinking that’s how it will taste. 😦

How is the taste?

I love the taste. It has a mildly sweet flavor compared to the regular white rice.  It’s rice folks – enjoy 🙂

5. Ragi Mudde  :Ragi flour cooked with water and made like a ball.ragimudde.jpg

How to cook?

It’s wasting your time giving instructions here,  find a good youtube video. All I can day – practice makes man perfect 😉

How does it taste?

Least palatable of all , I eat it just to add Ragi to my diet after adding all else.  Only eat it if you have large quantities of liquid at home.  Easy ways to add Ragi are ragi idli, dosa and roti. I have these in my diet regularly, so this ragi mudde is when I am in mood to spend some time in kitchen making the balls.

6. Wheat Daliya / Broken Wheat :  Whole wheat made into coarse pieces.


How to cook?

Like foxtail millet.

How does it taste?

Similar to steel cut oats, it feels heavy on the mouth to chew – compared to our fine versions of white rice or jowar rawa.  Fills tummy very quickly. Can be eaten for full lunch with all  accompanying curries and liquid preparations.

Apart from these –  other regulars in my diet are Bajra Roti as I don’t consume it much in any other form.  Least appealing to the tongue 😉 Red rice is on my list which is native to lot of Karnataka and Kerala people,  next month I will add it to my grocery list.

If you are picky eater – just ignore this post and tuck in some hot sambar and your favorite white rice.

Another tip – All the above items are mentioned are excellent to make One Pot items. Toss in some oil, whatever veggies in fridge and add the item and pressure cook for 6 or 7 whistles.  If you can’t eat it in lunch – you can eat almost all of them for breakfast. You wouldn’t be hungry for good 4 hours.  Since my family isn’t a fan of all the crazy stuff I try – whatever I eat more than 5 or 6 times that gets converted into a breakfast item in our house.  Ofcourse I get weird looks, but what matters more is the empty breakfast plate and filled tummy of my loved ones.

So, what are you waiting for?

Have a good day and keep rocking!