The young urban generation of Bangladesh are perhaps unaware of traditionally husked rice called 'Dheki Chhata Chal'. A 'dheki' is used to thresh and separate rice grains from the outer husk shell. Using a 'dheki', women in villages produce 'Dheki Chhata Chal', which contains more nutrition than the rice husked in the mills.
The intrusion of mills has drastically reduced the use of 'dheki'. The older generation, who probably have unique memories of having this speciality rice, cherish a sort of nostalgia about this.
Some small-scale entrepreneurs are trying to operate a motorised or machine-driven 'dekhi' in Bangladesh to meet the growing demand for the nutritious type of rice.
Students of Bankura Unnayani Institute of Engineering, Bankura, India, have constructed a machine-operated 'dheki', which is currently being given experimentally to various women's self-help groups across India
The machine-operated 'dheki' will hit the Indian market for sale by the college and it will cost about Rs 25,000. This 'dheki' can husk 15 to 18 kilograms of brown rice by consuming only one unit of electricity per hour.
Nutritive value of 'Dheki Chhata Chal'
'Dheki Chhata Chal' has more nutritive value but it depends on whether the rice is cultivated with or without chemical fertilizer and pesticides. Safely cultivated rice is, for sure, healthier for us.
Jum-cultivated Binni rice is less processed than white rice, which has had its hull (a hard protective covering), bran and germ removed. 'Dekhi Chhata' Binni rice only has the hull removed, leaving behind the nutrient-packed bran and germ. As a result, Binni rice retains the nutrients white rice lacks such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, high fibers, Vitamin B complexes and natural fats.
Brown rice is highly nutritious and low in calories (216 calories per cup), high in fiber and gluten-free. Compared to white rice, red, brown and black rice has a higher amount of fiber and manganese, which helps create hemoglobin in the body, enhances immunity system and blood circulation.
The grains also contain nutrients such as vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium, selenium and thiamine, which is good for the heart and nervous system. These are all important for a variety of bodily functions such as forming new cells, carrying oxygen through the blood, regulating thyroid and strengthening metabolism.
Brown rice also keeps diabetes and blood sugar levels in check and prevents diseases such as colon cancer, breast cancer, leukemia, amnesia, dementia and alzheimer.
Different delicacies made from 'Dheki Chhata Chal'
A variety of dishes can be prepared from 'Dheki Chhata' brown rice. Puffed rice does not have many calories anyways. If you want to lose weight, snacking on brown puffed rice is a healthy alternative. It can be mixed with herbs, spices and other healthy ingredients to make it a fun food or a delicious snack.
Binni rice is a sticky and sweet variety of rice. All the three varieties - red, brown and black - of Binni rice are best for making delicacies such as pitha, payesh and khichuri. Indigenous people from the hills prepare fine, locally brewed liquor and beer from this rice.
Both indigenous and Tangail weavers spread a light paste of Binni rice on the sharis they weave.
Farida Akhter, the Executive Director of UBINIG, and one of the organisers of "Naya Krishi Andolon", said, "There are different varieties of rice, which are perfect for puffed rice, flattened rice, khoi and pitha."
She added, "Gighoj, a variety produced in Noakhali, and Dholamota rice, grown in the southern part of Bangladesh, are better for puffed rice. Patjag rice, which is cultivated in Tangail, is also good for puffed rice. The Kajol Shai variety is better for flattened rice, while Pokhraj rice is good for Khoi."
Where to buy Binni rice from
Apart from super shops such as Shwapno, Meena Bazar and Agora, many online shops, namely Chaldaal, chashbash.com, Prakritik Krishi Biponon Kendro, parmeeda.com and Organic Farmers Bd, along with individual sellers, also sell Dheki Chhata Chal and organic Binni rice.
Shashya Prabartana also sells Dheki Chhata Chal at all of their outlets in the city. The shop currently has 3 outlets - two in Mohammadpur and one in Banani.
The price of this rice varies from Tk70 to Tk200 per kilogram depending on the variety, quality and source origin.