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Samba is a variety of rice grown in Tamil Nadu, some other parts of India and Sri Lanka, and has a small ovular grain, compared to the long grain of basmati rice. This rice is also very popular in West Bengal and there it is known as "Gobindo-bhog".
Samba rice has a distinct taste and can be described as having a more 'starchy' or 'corny' flavor, and thus is an acquired taste preferred mainly by the locals.
The grain itself is much harder than the other varieties and when cooked is less 'fluffy' in texture so gives a more filling meal with a higher caloric value.
All Samba rice grain is harvested locally and there are many sub-varieties ranging in grain size and price. Seeraga Samba is the most expensive sub-variety and has the smallest grain. It is approximately a third the size of a grain of basmati rice.
Samba rice is grown extensively in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Rice grown in Samba season (Aug through Jan) is referred to as Samba rice. This rice is grown for a longer duration compared to other types of rice.