Coconut Rice | Thengai Saadham

This is a typical South Indian rice dish you will see in many homes in Tamil Nadu, other South Indian states as well as in Sri Lanka. There are not many differences in the ingredients put in by various households so it’s quite a traditional recipe.  The variations I sometimes make are putting in peanuts instead of cashews and whole grain Basmathi rice, instead of broken Basmathi rice.  One important thing I think makes this dish taste really yummy is the use of Coconut Oil to temper the spices. It really lifts the flavour of the fresh coconut and the whole dish just seems to be more moreish with Coconut oil.  If you are in the UK a really good brand of Coconut Oil I would recommend is by Coconut Merchant.  It’s an ethically sourced product and keeps so well and gives such good flavour. They haven’t paid me to say this by the way, it’s just my honest preference 🙂

See what you think 🙂


Serves 2

What you need:

  • Broken Basmathi Rice – 1 cup
  • Water 1.5 cups (or adjust as needed to cook the rice)
  • Salt, to taste

For tempering:

  • Coconut Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/4 cup
  • Dry red chillies – 2
  • Broken cashew nuts – a handful
  • Curry leaves – a spring or 6 – 8 leaves
  • Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup (can be fresh or frozen – but not dessicated!)
  • Asafoetida – a pinch

How to make it:

  1. Cook rice with the required amount of water. If you are using broken basmathi, take care not to over cook as it changes the whole texture of the dish. Add a tsp of melted coconut oil and required salt and fluff the rice with a fork to separate the grains.
  2. Heat a small pan with oil,temper with the ingredients in the ‘For Tempering’ in that order.Add the coconut & asafoetida at the end and just give it a stir for 1/2 minute on a low flame.
  3. Then add the coconut mixture to the cooked rice and combine well. The last step bit of combining all the ingredients is important so take time with this and if you mix it too vigorously then the rice grains may be squashed which you don’t want.

Ideally this is best served as soon as you have made it. However if you want to make it in advance this doesn’t have to be steaming hot when served, in fact I think it tastes best just slightly warm or at room temperature.

I like to eat this with any tangy curry like Morkuzhambu which has a yoghurt base, or any Puli Kuzhambu which has a tamarind base.  Or you can try out a different menu idea in the picture below 🙂  Let me know if you need the recipe for any of the side dishes.

Suji x


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