Recipe: “Burnt” Rice Tea (Ranovola) w/ poll

I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but here we are: I’m going to show you how to burn rice. It’s for a perfectly good cause: a cool, refreshing glass of ranovola, or burnt rice teaThis toasty-tasting drink is popular in Madagascar, where the bottom of the rice pot is reserved to flavor the local river water.

Rice crop near Ambositra, Madagascar by Bernard Gagnon. Closeup by Jean-Louis Vandevivère.

It’s super easy to do, as long as you don’t burn the rice too fast. You have to do it just right.


Start with a cup of cooked rice spread on the bottom of a saucepan. Heat over medium until it begins to smell toasty. Continue scraping and turning the rice… Until the whole mess rattles and clacks as you move it, like a cup of popcorn kernels. Lower the heat as you go, being sure not to send plumes of smoke throughout your house. (To be honest, it’s really more toasted than burned)

And here you have it: perfectly “burned” rice: Add on plenty of hot water and let steep until cooled. Meanwhile, go lounge in the shade of a baobab tree… if you can find any shade, that is.

Baobab tree in rice field by Zigomar. Baobabs with leaves by Frank Vassen.

When you get home, strain out the burnt rice and…

…serve over ice (optional) with a smile (not optional).Ahhh, now that’s a refreshing glass of burnt! There really is no hard and fast recipe for this, but I burned 1 cup cooked rice and added about 8 cups water.  You might like your burnt flavor stronger or weaker – it’s up to you!

I hope you…

… love it!

It’s quite the experience!

P.S. She ended up drinking almost her entire glass!


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  1. Did you ever try roasted barley tea? It is a Japanese summer drink, although they make it in Korea too (I think they drink it hot there). It is called mugicha in Japanese. I wonder how this one compares, since they are both burned cereals.. I love the barley one.

  2. meganleiann says:

    No oil or sweetener? Interesting. But doesn’t burnt rice STINK?

  3. Koreans have something very similar, if not exactly, like that! We call it noolungji. Typically at Korean restaurants, they’ll bring out a stone pot with cooked rice. After scooping out all the rice, they’ll leave the rest of the rice that’s stuck on the bottom of the hot stone pot for awhile and come back and pour water over it, thus creating noolungji :) So yummy with the rice too!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Sounds delicious! Burnt Rice tea seems to be popular all the way through Asia… but I haven’t seen it in Africa, until now.

  4. this looks gorgeous! thanks for sharing. i will subscribe to your blog. feel free to pop over and say hi sometime x

  5. like viviann mentioned, yes koreans drink this tea. nooroong-ji cha. you will probably have a better time selling it to friends if you call it “toasted rice tea”. sounds more appealing, no? and actually, it IS toasted, not burnt. if it was burnt, it would be all black and sooty. ;-)


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