Coconut rice


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook: 300 Classic Recipes from the Great Regions of India

The Complete Indian Regional Cookbook

By Mridula Baljekar

Published 2017

  • About

This snow-white basmati rice dish, speckled with black mustard seeds and dotted with red chilli pieces, looks quite stunning, and it tastes as good as it looks. Thengai Sadam is best served with a simple lentil dish or a vegetable curry, as it is quite rich and very flavoursome.


  • 225 g/8 oz/generous 1 cup basmati rice
  • 5 ml/1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 50 g/2 oz/ cup desiccated (dry unsweetened shredded) coconut
  • 125 ml/4fl oz/½ cup milk
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp sunflower oil or light olive oil
  • 50 g/2 oz/½ cup raw cashew nuts
  • 2.5 ml/½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 15 ml/1 tbsp split Bengal gram (channa dhal or skinless split chickpeas)
  • 2–3 dried red chillies
  • 8–10 curry leaves


  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for 20 minutes, then leave to drain in a sieve (strainer).

  2. Put the rice into a heavy pan. Pour in 450 ml/16fl oz/scant 2 cups hot water. Stir in the salt and bring it to the boil. Let it boil for 2 minutes, then turn the heat down to very low, cover and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the pan stand undisturbed for 8–10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, put the coconut into a small pan and add the milk. Stir over a low-medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the coconut has absorbed all the milk.

  4. Heat the oil in a small pan over a low heat and brown the cashew nuts. Drain on kitchen paper.

  5. In the same pan, increase the heat to medium and, when the oil is hot but not smoking, add the mustard seeds, split Bengal gram, chillies and curry leaves. Cook until the chillies blacken slightly.

  6. Pour the entire contents of the pan over the cooked rice and add the coconut and cashew nuts. Gently mix with a fork to fluff up the rice and combine the ingredients, then serve.

Per portion Energy 436kcal/1813kJ; Protein 9.3g; Carbohydrate 51.7g, of which sugars 3.1g; Fat 21.2g, of which saturates 9.4g; Cholesterol 4mg; Calcium 56mg; Fibre 2.3g; Sodium 58mg.