Thengai Sadam or South Indian Coconut Rice – this is for those days when you don’t want to cook any elaborate meals, or not in a mood to cook anything, yet you want to binge into something light, bright and fanciful – this south Indian coconut rice is perfect for those moments or days.
A very simple yet beautiful and healthy meals in minutes or seconds if you already have some leftover precooked rice, you can dish this out in a jiffy. Need no special cooking skills to put it together.
This south Indian coconut rice can be ornated in many ways with dried fruits and nuts and can be a wholesome dish on its own. Or else pair it with some spicy curries and you will have win-win situation all the way.
Coconuts are rich in fiber, high in minerals, contains good fat and armed with powerful antioxidants. A handful of shaved coconut in your curries and rice, can add texture, beauty and depth of flavour to the dish and a great way to incorporate goodness of coconut in your daily meals in moderate proportions.
This is the one fruit that I love immensely for its versatility and the kind of richness it brings to any dish. In short I love anything on earth made with coconut and coconut milk.
Though the cuisine of south of India is mostly famous for using coconut in almost every other dishes, but in Bengali cuisine too coconut is indispensable to some extent, from vegetarian curries, to fish, chicken and mutton coconut has its prominence in Bengali cuisine too.
How to make this coconut rice?
You can make this coconut rice two ways –
1. Cook the rice with coconut milk
2. Stir fry the pre-cooked rice with grated coconut . Which is a much simpler and hassle free way to do.
Both taste different but good.
How I did it?
I pre cook the rice in water as usual. Half way through the cooking, when rice grains are ardent and not fully cooked through, I have drained the water and add diluted coconut milk and black cardamoms and continue with the cooking till the rice is cooked through. Then take out the rice on a wide plate, spread it and let it cool till all the moisture evaporates out.
Then you can proceed with the usual stir frying process with spices and freshly grated coconut. This way the coconut rice will taste more rich and flavourful. The addition of coconut milk will impart little sweetness to the dish which is highly desirable and recommended. Also it will make the rice little moist and not too dry.
If you run short of time, you can always opt for simple stir frying of pre cooked rice with spices and grated coconut.
What I did different here?
The flavour of coconut rice will bloom and that depends upon how well you can season and temper it. Chana dal or bengal gram is important here but I have not added because of my kid who don’t like the taste of chana dal. Same with peanut also. Hence I have used only cashews and very thinly sliced almonds ,which is traditionally not used in the recipe.
Onions are traditionally not added in this recipe, but I have added thinly sliced brown onions and that gives nice texture and adds taste to the dish too. You can skip the onion part too.
Extremely flavourful coconut rice in South Indian style paired with Spicy Maharashtrian Brinjal Curry / Vanghyachi Amti
- 2 cup Rice, uncooked
- 1 cup Coconut Milk, diluted
- 3/4 cup Coconut, grated
- 1 medium Onion, sliced (optional)
- 1/2 cup Peanuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup Cashews, halved
- 1/4 cup Almond, sliced (optional)
- 1 tbsp Chana dal, soaked
- 2 Green Chillies
- 1 Dry Red Chillies
- 2 tsp Mustard Seeds, Black
- 8 Curry Leaves
- 3 tbsp Coconut Oil
- Salt to taste
- 6 Small Brinjal
- 1 medium Onion sliced
- 1 inch Ginger
- 6-8 Garlic Cloves
- Coriander Leaves, handful
- 1/2 cup Coconut, freshly grated
- 3-4 tbsp Peanut Powder, toasted
- 2 Green chillies
- 2 tbsp Coriander seeds
- 2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1 tbsp Goda Masala / Maharashtrian Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 6-8 Curry Leaves
- 1 pinch Hing (Asafoetida)
- 3-4 tbsp Oil
- Salt as per taste
Wash and soak the rice for 20 minutes. This will speed up the rice cooking process and will save the fuel too. Cook the rice in excess water till it is ardent. Switch off the heat and drained the water.
Add the diluted coconut milk and cook the rice till soft on very low heat.
Once done, scoop out the rice and spread on flat plate till all the moisture evaporates.This will take another 20 minutes.
In a frying pan,heat the coconut oil. Fry the sliced onions and cashews till they are brown.
Add half of the grated coconut and fry for couple of minute. Add half the rice and stir fry it. Add the remaining grated coconut and the rice.
Mix really well and fry till the rice absorb the flavour. Take care not to break the rice grains.
In a separate tadka pan, heat some ghee, temper it with curry leaves, mustard seeds, soaked chana dal, green chillies, dry red chillies. Give it a nice stir. And add this to the rice. Mix really well.
And cover it. Serve warm. You can stir in handful of toasted peanuts and sliced almonds too before serving.
Wash the brinjal, remove the stalk, and slit them into four without breaking them. Soak them in salted water till use.
In a pan, heat the oil, lightly fry the corainder seeds, add the sliced onions, green chillies, cloves of garlic, ginger pieces and fry them together till lightly brown. Add the grated coconut, coriander leaves and fry further for 3-4 minutes. Cool this mix and blend it in a mixer till smooth.
In a kadhai, heat the oil, temper it with mustard seeds, cumin seeds ,dry red chillies, curry leaves.
Wipe the brinjal with tissue paper and slide them in oil and fry the brinjals till they become lightly brown and become soft. Add a pinch of hing and mix it well.
I did not stuff the brinjal with the masala paste, but if you want you can.
If you are stuffing the brinjal, then stuff the brinjal and then add that into the oil.
Add the masala paste, followed by all the spices and salt.
Give the brinjals a nice mix, till all the brinjals are nicely coated with the masala paste. This will take some 10 minutes and keep on frying on medium low flame.
Now add 1 1/2 cup water, bring to rapid boil and cover with the lid. Cook till done.
Garnish with more coriander leaves and serve with coconut rice or with roti, paratha.
What to pair with this coconut rice?
Since this coconut rice is slightly on sweeter side, spicy dishes will complement it greatly. Any vegetable curries or chicken curries will be a perfect match with this south Indian coconut rice. We however had paired it with Maharashtrian style spicy brinjal curry , better known as Vangyachi amti. This was almost match made in a heaven.
Hyderabadi Baghare Baingan or Brinjal Curry is another good choice for this coconut rice.
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