In olden days, farmers and laborers, especially of South East Asia, who did a lot of physical work ate fermented rice for breakfast. Fermented rice is called pazhankanji or vellachoru in Malayalam, pazhaya saadam in Tamil and paaniwala chawal in Hindi.
Traditionally rice is cooked in the afternoon and excess water is drained. After the rice cools down to room temperature, it is soaked fully in water and stored in an earthen clay pot. This covered pot with soaked rice is left overnight at regular room temperature. The rice would ferment by the next morning and is eaten for breakfast. Traditionally, it is eaten with a side dish, raw onion or green chili. Some prefer to drain excess water and eat it with yogurt and a slight sprinkle of salt.
The lactic acid bacteria break down the anti-nutritional factors in rice resulting in an improved bioavailability of micro-nutrients and minerals such as iron, potassium and calcium by several thousand percentage points. For example, after 12 hours of fermentation of 100 grams of rice, the availability of iron changed from 3.4 mg to 73.91mg (an increase of 2073%).
In the agrarian communities of South East Asia, fermented rice played a big role in the lives of people. It gave the energy, the nutrition and the cooling effect that they needed for a full day of manual labor. Unfortunately, people moving up the food chain (or wealth chain, rather) looked down on fermented rice as the pauper’s food and ignored the great nutritional value it provides.
Food scientists who researched on the food practices among various regions in the world and concluded that the South Asia’s tradition of consuming the previous day's cooked rice soaked in plain water overnight, in the morning next day, as break-fast, is the best. It has the rare B6 B12 vitamins which are not otherwise easily available in other food supplements. This rice generates and harbors trillions of beneficial bacteria that help digestion and has many disease fighting and immunity developing agents. The bacteria that grow in the intestines due to this rice safeguard the internal organs and keep them fit and ready. Consuming this rice helps quicker digestion and wards off ageing, bone related ailments and muscular pains. Brown rice is the best for this as its nutrients are retained intact.
American Nutrition Association has listed the following benefits if you stick to the practice of consuming such soaked rice.
- Consuming this rice as breakfast keeps the body light and also energetic.
- Beneficial bacteria get produced in abundance for the body.
- Stomach ailments disappear when this is consumed in the morning as excessive and harmful heat retained in the body is neutralized.
- As this food is very fibrous, it removes constipation and also dullness in the body.
- Blood pressure is normalized and hypertension subsides appreciably.
- Body feels less tired due to this food as a result of which one feels fresh throughout the day.
- This removes allergy induced problems and also skin-related ailments.
- It removes all types of ulcers in the body.
- Fresh infections are kept at bay due to consuming this rice.
- It helps in maintaining youthful and radiant look.
Consuming this takes away your body’s craving for tea or coffee. This is the richest source of vitamin B12 for vegans. So, do not throw away that extra rice you had cooked. It could be the healthiest breakfast you will ever have.