Chak-Hao, the black rice of Manipur and the Gorakhpur terracotta have bagged the Geogrphical Indication (GI) tag.The famous Kovilpatti kadalai mittai and Kashmiri Saffron have also been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
Black Aromatic Rice locally named as Chak-hao is well known for its attractive colour and aromatic flavour and considered as one of the richest source of anthocyanin found among food grain product apart from its optimal content of vitamins, minerals, fibre, proteins, and many othe nutrients.
The uniqueness of the black aromatic rice of Manipur is, its pleasant aroma coupled with stickiness which is not common in other black rice grown in other parts of the world
Black rice is a source of iron, vitamin E, and antioxidants (more than in blueberries). The bran hull (outermost layer) of black rice contains one of the highest levels of anthocyanins found in food. The grain has similar amount of fiber to brown rice and, like brown rice, has a mild, nutty taste.
Black aromatic rice owes its colour to powerful natural black colouring pigments called anthocyanins which boast an impressive antioxidant activity adding to the health benefits of this rice variety. In addition to being a good source of vitamins E, fibre and protein, black rice is shown to reduce inflamation levels in the body.
‘Chakho’ means delicious while ‘Ambui’ means black. In Manipur, it is generally served in special occasions and festive events.
After cooking, the black hue turns purple and it has a slightly nutty flavor. It is used to make porridge, kheer, Chinese black cake and many other dishes. It is deemed that cultivation of black rice started when the earliest settlers of Manipur came to the place. In hills of Manipur, the grain is harvested in organic methods. No pesticide and chemical fertilizer is used. The black rice needs to be soaked for a few hours or overnight for cooking.
Popular varieties of Chak-hao in Manipur are Poireiton, Chak-hao Amubi, Chak-hao Angouba.Known with varied names like magic rice and forbidden rice, black rice has always seemed exotic.Forbidden rice earned its name because it was once reserved for the Chinese Emperor, for whom it was meant to ensure health and longevity
Chak-Hao has also been used by traditional medical practitioners as part of traditional medicine. According to the GI application filed, this rice takes the longest cooking time of 40-45 minutes due to the presence of a fibrous bran layer and higher crude fibre content.
At present, the traditional system of Chak-Hao cultivation is practised in some pockets of Manipur. Direct sowing of pre-soaked seeds and also transplantation of rice seedlings raised in nurseries in puddled fields are widely practised in the State’s wetlands.
Benefits of black rice-
According to findings, consumption contributes to the prevention and management of ailments such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, high cholestrol levels, arthritis, allergies, aging signs and even cancer.
- High antioxidants including anthocyanins, the same anti-cancer compound found in blueberries. Anthorocyanin prevents free radical damage in the body and protects against various ailments like heart diseases, inflammation and cancer.
- Improves Heart Health as it prevents Atherosclerosis- black rice helps in prevention of high BP and plaque formation in the heart. It also helps reduce LDL and HDL cholesterol.
- Can Help Detoxify the Body – Presence of high anti oxidants and phytonutrients helps reduce the oxidative stress in the body. As the body fights to eliminate toxins, the rice helps to repair and improve functions of each tissue; thereby improving the health of liver- one of the most important detoxifiers in our body. In other words- black rice helps liver remove the unwanted substances through its anti-oxidant activity.
- Good Source of Fiber Which Improves Digestive Health.
- Black rice takes longer to digest and helps slow down absorption of sugar in the blood- helps keep the sugar constant. Can help prevent Diabetes
- Helps preventing Obesity as it contains low calories and enough carbohydrates to keep you full and energetic.
- Great source of minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus etc. All these minerals help in several processed of the Human body.
- High source protein- with as much as 8.5 grams of protein in 100 grams serving.