Ellu Sadam (Sesame Rice, Til Rice)

Sesame is one of the richest sources of calcium in the world. Many people believe that dairy milk and it by-products give them calcium. But experts have told me that dairy milk actually draws calcium from the bones!
Till about 2 generations ago, there was always a stock of sesame ladoos (balls of sesame seeds coated with jaggery) in every Indian home. One just popped one of these ladoos into the mouth every day. They were delicious and our grandparents knew about what a calcium rich food it was, I presume. Sadly, this practice is now no more. And sesame is not often used in Indian cuisine. This recipe, is therefore, very special.

2 1/2 tbsp white or black sesame seeds (til, ellu)
1 cup red or brown rice
6 dried red chillies (adjust according to tolerance level)
1 tsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
Salt to taste
For The Seasoning
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp split black gram
1 sprig curry leaves
Cook the rice  till it is well done, but not mushy
Transfer to a mixing bowl and add salt
Mix gently
Set aside
Heat a wok and add split black gram and red chillies
Roast till the black gram turns golden brown
Transfer to a plate and set aside
Now add the sesame seeds to the wok and roast
When the sesame seeds begin to splutter, turn the flame to low
Continue roasting till the spluttering stops
Remove from flame
Set aside to cool
Transfer the roasted black gram and red chillies to a blender
Grind to a coarse powder
Add the roasted sesame seeds
Pulse to get a coarse powder
Set aside
Heat a wok and add the ingredients mentioned under seasoning
Roast till the black gram turns golden brown
Remove from flame and add to the cooked rice
Add the ground sesame and black gram powder to the cooked rice
Mix gently
Transfer to a serving bowl
Serve at room temperature with papadams, crisp and/or raita

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