Good Food Guide: Mapillai Samba Rice Dosa

[Every Thursday in August, we will feature recipes that use native varieties of rice from across India. Native rice is better adapted to local climatic conditions and tolerant to poor soils and harsh weather, making it one of the most ecologically sound food choices in a changing environment.]


Mapillai Samba

Mapillai Samba is a native variety of rice grown in Tamil Nadu that's well suited to organic farming because it is hardy and demands little or no fertilisers or pesticides. The origins of its name can be found in Tamil forklore which has it that traditionally, on his wedding day, a bridegroom (mapillai) was required to lift a heavy rock as a show of his strength and virility. To help boost his energy before the task, this rice was cooked and fed to the new son-in-law.

Along with other native varieties of rice, mapillai samba has all but disappeared from our farms and markets, making way instead for highly processed, nutritionally inferior white rice.

Mapillai Samba Rice  Source

Mapillai Samba Rice Source

Mapillai Samba can be cooked as plain rice, ground into flour or made into idli, dosa, upma and pongal. It is high in fibre and associated with a host of health benefits:

  • Aids digestion
  • Heals stomach and mouth ulcers
  • Improves immunity and stamina
  • Strengthens muscles and nerves
  • Supplies instant energy to the body
  • Increases haemoglobin content
  • Good for diabetics since it is has a low Glycemic Index.

Here's a recipe for crisp mapillai samba dosas.

IMG-20170803-WA0005 - shiva kumar.jpg

What you will need

  • 1 cup of mapillai samba rice*
  • 1/4 cup of unhulled black urad dal
  • 10 fenugreek seeds.


Soak the mapillai samba rice for 4 hours. Separately, soak the black urad dal and fenugreek seeds for 2 hours. Grind them together, adding a little water to get the right consistency. Set the batter aside and let it ferment for 8 hours. Use a cast iron tawa to prepare crisp, dosas and serve with a chutney of your choice.

*I bought the rice from Spirit of the Earth in Chennai

(The Good Food Guide brings you weekly recipes for wholesome meals that you can easily cook at home. The guide is published in partnership with My Learning Game.)

Shiva is a wellness coach who started My Learning Game to encourage people to develop healthy food and lifestyle habits that are in tune with Nature. He is currently working towards learning to make his own clothes and coach others to do the same.