Sunday, 9 June 2013

Thengai Saadam (South-Indian spicy coconut rice)

Whenever I think of picnics, I remember the 18th day of the Tamil month of Aadi, aadiperukku, when everyone celebrates the inundation of the river Cauvery by having picnics by river beds or at the beach. With the summer months rolling on here, we are also enjoying our picnics. Among the sandwiches and piroshkis, I still like carrying a little South-Indian style mixed rice, chitrannams, to these picnics and they provide a lovely variation to the picnic themes for us. The coconut rice (Thengai saadam) is perfect for barbecues and are great with a little pappadoms on the side. They can also be enjoyed in a normal meal with any curry of your choice.

You will need:
500 g of cooked long grain white rice (usually 300 g of raw rice yields 500 g of cooked rice).
salt to taste
1/4 cup desiccated coconut + 2 tbsp coconut milk
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
Asafoetida- a small pinch
1/2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp channa dal
5-6 cashews halved and broken (avoid for children less than 5 yrs old due to chocking hazard)
1-2 dried red chillies
1-2 fresh green chillies chopped (optional)
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves for garnish

To roast and grind to a powder (optional):
1/2 tsp urad dal + 1 tsp channa dal + dried red chillies to taste

Soak channa and urad dal along with cashews in water for 1 hr (or in hot water for 1/2 hr). Cook rice according to instructions just until done (not over cooked, the grains should be separate). If wanting a spicier version roast and grind to a coarse powder all the ingredients given in " to roast and grind". Heat oil in a pan to medium heat and add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Add dried red chillies, asafoetida and then drain and add the soaked the dals.

Cook until the dal turns golden. Turn off stove. Add the cooked rice, coconut+coconut milk and coriander leaves. Add salt to taste and mix well. If using add the ground powder and mix well.

I usually take out Anjalie's portion and then add the roasted powder and cashews.

For a Thai-style coconut rice, skip all the dals and use minced lemon grass instead.

Serve warm with curry of your choice or enjoy with barbecues.

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