How was rice discovered initially?

Rice Plants (IRRI)

Some things perplex me to no end. This is one question/thought that has been tarnishing my mind over the few days. I’ve put it in the blog so you people can also suffer 😛

How (and why) was rice discovered initially?

Let’s assume I don’t know rice – I’ve never seen it. Now, I happen to wander on the plains and I happen to see a rice plant. But I don’t know that it is rice. What will I most probably do? 

I will assume it is some weed and happily continue wandering. You’ll also do that only right? Accept it.

At best, what will we do if we feel curious? We’ll pluck some seeds (as it will appear to us), try to put it in our mouth, and conclude that it is some wild inedible plant.

But someone, at some point of time, happened not only to pickup the seeds, but also removed the outer cover, put the raw rice into boiling water, boiled the rice, made sambar, rasam, curry, etc., mixed it with the boiled rice, ate it, survived it, and announced to the world that they have discovered a grain which is tasty and healthy!!!

I mean, do we pluck the seeds of each and every plant we find on the road, put it in hot water, and check if it can be eaten? No, right? Obviously those ancient people would have eaten something if they had survived until then – so even for them, discovering rice wouldn’t have been a big priority or need.

Then how did anyone discover rice? And why did it happen? If you know the answer, tell me in the comments 😛

Destination Infinity

Image credit: By IRRI Images (originally posted to Flickr as Korea_0001) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.I am Rajesh K, the author of this blog. While this blog is my hobby, I am a Freelance Video Editor by Profession. If you want to make Videos for Business or Special Occasions, do visit my other website WOWSUPER.NET to see the portfolio and get in touch.


  • SG

    Good question. I don’t know the answer. All I know rice has been cultivating in this world from around 3000 BC. There is a debate who invented the paddy system and developed the art of growing rice. Indians or Chinese?

    • Rajesh K

      That is true – granaries have been discovered in India and China that date to 3000 BC. But the genus of rice is 130 million years old, it seems!

      I don’t think I want the answer to this question, but I am trying to explore (and rekindle) our ability to innovate/discover new things, if we care to do it! 🙂

      Destination Infinity

    • Rajesh K

      Frankly, this is a ‘which came first – hen or egg’, question! So I am not expecting an answer. I was just wondering at all the innovations that we today have taken for granted!

      Destination Infinity

  • Praveen

    So one day they were salvaging materials to use for d bon-fire. THey picked up this grass from the field & then placed it on the bon. As it caught fire, it started popping white soft stuff from its hard core & jumping out of fire. One persons curiosiry took hold of it & they ate it. !TADA! they tasted rice for the first time. …well one form of it. 😛

  • Jeevan

    Only DI could think such 🙂 There is a program in Pudhu Yugam Tv, called Konjam Sooru Konjam Varalaru. Where the host tell us the history of the food/related stuffs, alongside the cooking show. I think i need to watch it more after this post, which has many interesting things to learn about food. You too can check it by 12 noon on Sundays.

  • Manogna

    Let me try to put some points across.
    Whoever invented rice was eatable mightn’t have been the one to discover it can be boiled. Later that same person may not have been the reason it is eaten with sambar ,rasam etc.
    The whole usage of rice might have come about in stages.
    My dad once told me,(when i was a school going kiddo), that early man began eating meat,when once, by chance , the shelter to protect animals had caught fire and in trying to save the animal, he burnt his hands. So, after a burn, what every human does is put his finger in mouth. Thats what he did and lo..! He loved what he tasted,the burnt animal.
    Goes to show trivial things might have paved way for usage of rice.

    • Rajesh K

      Probably, but still, putting rice into a pot of hot water accidentally is still a long shot, don’t you think? I feel, the discovery may have been similar to our scientific process – boiling different grains in water, and coming to a conclusion that rice is suitable, than an accident. But who knows what might have happened – it might have been an accident, as well!

      Destination Infinity

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