Types of Rice in Sri Lanka

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Red Rice

A short, wide rice with a hard grain.

Usually sold rough polished (with some of the reddish bran left on).

Has a nutty flavour and is chewy.

Red rice can come from the Himalayan mountains of India, the volcanic mountains of the Philippines and other tropical mountainous areas such as Sri Lanka.

Red Rice, Long-grained

Has the shape of Basmati rice but with red colour.

Usually sold rough polished.

Sri Lankan Country Rice (Naadu Arici)

A reddish-brown which is tastier and more satisfying than ordinary red rice when eaten whole or rough polished.

It comes in many different grades. It is sold unpolished, rough polished and fully polished. 

When polished it has a translucent appearance which indicates that it is a non-waxy rice (containing amylase in addition to amylopectin in the endosperm).

Samba Rice

A small, short round-grained rice.

Usually sold polished.

Does not stick together and is often fried.

Natural, cream coloured rice (Sudu haal)

Long-grain, medium-grain and short-grain is grown in Sri Lanka.

Basmati Rice

Not grown in Sri Lanka and is imported from India or Pakistan.

Varieties of rice identified by town name



. . . and many others



There used to be about 400 varieties of rice in Sri Lanka.

Different rices grew well in different locations, and different rices were suitable for different needs — from hard working farmers to growing children. 

Just fifty years ago there were 280 varieties.  Now many are lost and only about 15 are cultivated.

Unfortunately there is now widespread planting of hybrid varieties of rice in  Sri Lanka, as well as the normal widespread use of pesticides.  Hybrid varieties do not produce seed for planting, new seed must be bought.

Fortunately there is now a strong organic rice movement in Sri Lanka — but so far organic rice is grown mainly for export!