Coconut Rice (Thengai Saadam)
The sweetness and nuttiness of freshly grated coconut are enhanced by the mild heat from the chilies, and the fragrance of hing. A sublime experience, this coconut rice is. And gets ready in a jiffy.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15minutes
Cook Time
  • 1cup basmati rice, cooked so that grains are separate
Tempering & Seasoning Ingredients
  • 1tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1tbsp urad dal
  • 1sprig Curry leaves
  • 10-15pieces broken or whole cashew nutsunsalted
  • 1-2green chilies for flavor; can be skipped
  • 1/4tsp Hing
  • 1/2cup Fresh or frozen grated coconut
  • 1/2tsp salt for the coconut mix
  • 1tbsp tempering oil (avocado/coconut)
  1. Cook rice – for basmati, typically I use 2 cups water to 1 cup of washed and soaked rice, so that the grains are separate. Spread in a bowl, drizzle some oil, sprinkle salt and hing
  2. Gather seasoning and tempering ingredients – curry leaves, cashew pieces, green chilies
  3. In a pan, heat the oil for tempering. When hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Lower heat. Add urad dal, and let it get golden.
  4. Add cashew pieces, curry leaves, and slit green chilies, if using and fry for a minute or so, until the cashew pieces get golden brown
  5. Add fresh/frozen and thawed coconut and fry. You’ll know it’s ready when it gets golden brown, and releases a nutty fragrance
  6. Add salt to the seasoning
  7. Pour over the cooled rice, and mix gently without breaking the grains
  8. Serve with avial. This is part of a mixed rice thali of puliyodarai (tamarind rice/pulihora), avial (vegetable yogurt gravy), papad, dhaddiyonnam (yogurt rice), and mango thokku (pickle)
Recipe Notes
  • makes a quick lunch to be packed (and no, the coconut won’t go bad as it’s toasted/fried well)
  • Great with a variety of sides – potato chips, papad, avial, more kozhambu
  • This mixed rice thali is typically made for picnics – with puliyodarai, lemon rice, yogurt rice
  • Made on the 2nd day of the Pongal festival when people typically go “sightseeing” and pack all these foods
  • Made on Aadi Perukku day which is a unique South Indian and specially a Tamil festival celebrated on the 18th day of the Tamil month of Adi (mid July). The festival coincides with the rising of the rivers and to pay tribute to water’s life-sustaining properties. It is celebrated near river basins, water tanks, lakes and wells etc. of Tamil Nadu when the water level in the rises significantly heralding the onset of Monsoon. It is also famous among Sri Lankan Tamils. This is also celebrated by most of the Tamils/Hindus around the world. (source: wikipedia) On this day, people flock the banks of these water bodies with mixed rice dishes such as coconut rice, tamarind rice, etc. to celebrate the river goddesses
  • Who can forget the first scene in Kalki’s immortal epic “Ponniyin Selvan” which starts on the banks of Veeranarayanam lake, with Vanthiyathevan riding along on a horse, carrying a message to Aditya Karikalan, and sharing the picnic with the villagers celebrating Aadi perukku?