Today I share my favorite rice recipe – coconut rice or popularly known as thengai sadam which is an aromatic and very flavorful food of Tamil Nadu. I ate coconut rice for the first time in Tamil Nadu when we were on a short trip to Madras or Chennai. I loved the flavors of the rice instantly. My mother also makes another version of this where she adds roasted coconut to the rice, but mine is slightly different.
Coconut rice tastes good with a warm gravy like masala gravy or rajma on the side. Of course, it tastes heavenly with any aloo or potato gravy curries like aloo kofta, aloo jeera, aloo kurma etc. You can serve it with many other gravies too, for a detailed recipe list, check out my link here.
This is a quick lunch-box recipe for kids and when packed with a protein-rich curry on the side, it makes for a healthy and nutritious meal.
For some easy, quick lunch box rice recipes — check out this link here.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
For coconut milk
Fresh coconut – 1 cup (cut into rough chunks, may use grated coconut too)
Water – 2 cups
For cooking rice
Regular rice or basmati rice – 1 cup
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup (may use the leftover coconut from making coconut milk)
Whole black peppercorns – 5
Cinnamon – ½ inch piece
Star anise – 1
Green cardamom – 3
Salt as per taste
For tadka or seasoning
Chana dal or senaga pappu – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cashew nuts – 5
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Green chilies – 4 or 5 (slit along the length)
Curry leaves – 5 to 6
Oil – 1 tbsp
Procedure to make pure coconut milk
- Soak the rice in 2 cups water for 30mins. Then, drain the water into another container. We use this water to make the coconut milk.
- Into this water, add the grated coconut and blend it in a mixer or blender to get thick milk like consistency.
- Pour this into a strainer to separate the coconut from the coconut milk. Squeeze the mixture well so that you get a creamy coconut milk.
Preparing the coconut rice
- Add all the ingredients under ‘for cooking rice’ to the coconut milk and cook the rice till completely done. I find using rice cooker or pressure cooker gives a perfect texture to the rice.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove it from heat and let it cool for about 10-15 mins. Do not cover with lid, let the steam escape.
- For the tadka, heat 1tsp oil in a pan and add chana dal. Fry till it starts changing color.
- Add the cashew nuts, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, green chili and curry leaves. Fry till the chili leaves a nice aroma.
- Transfer this to the rice and give a good mix.
- Serve the rice with a nice gravy recipe like masala gravy or rajma.