Thengai Sadam (Coconut Rice)

This is a very popular dish in South Indian homes. If you have cooked rice and grated coconut on hand, this can be prepared in no time at all. It is often made on festive days. Or when one is feeling lazy to cook an elaborate meal. This rice is full of flavour imparted by the coconut and the curry leaves. You can try many variations – adding grated carrots, ginger, cucumber, mint leaves… The only thing to limit you will be your imagination. I will, however, provide the basic coconut rice recipe.

1 cup cooked red or brown rice
1/2 cup fresh, grated coconut
Salt to taste
1 green chilli, slit or chopped
1 red chilli, broken into two – optional
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera, jeeragam) – optional
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1/2 – 3/4 tbsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
1/2 – 3/4 tbsp split black gram (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
1 tsp chopped ginger
A few cashew nuts or peanuts
Cook the rice as you would normally do
Ensure that the rice is grainy, not mushy
Set aside to cool
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add cumin seeds, Bengal gram, split black gram and cashew nuts (or peanuts)
When the Bengal gram and the split black gram turn golden brown, add ginger, green chilli, curry leaves and red chilli
Sprinkle asafoetida
Add coconut, rice and salt
Turn the flame off
Mix well
Serve warm with any vegetable dish of your choice or vegan curd/raita

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