October 14, 2020

Thengai Saadham | Coconut Rice - South Indian style (Vegan )

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Needless to say , South Indian cuisine is incomplete without the use of coconut. Taking our love for coconut to another level  today we shall see how to make this delicious and mildly spiced Coconut rice .

Coconut rice has a very important place in the South Indian Menu especially in Tamil homes during Festivals where Chitrannam / Kalandha Saadham (Varieties of flavored rice) are offered as Prasad for the Divine Rituals . It is made without fail for

  1. Kannu Festival - the day after Makar Sankranti 
  2. Aadi Perukku  - a day dedicated to thank River Kaveri for blessing us with good water supply year long. Generally falls on Aug 2 or Aug 3 every year .
  3. Navratri - a 9 day Festival dedicated to the Goddesses Durga , Lakshmi and Saraswati who symbolise Valor , Prosperity and Intelligence.
There is a ritual of offering Flavored rice/ Chitrannam on each day during the 9 day Navratri festival ; both sweet and savory versions are offered as Prasadam.  Thengai Saadham is generally offered on day 6 as Prasad / Neivedhiyam. 

I shall compile the detailed list of prasadam menu day wise and publish as a separate Navratri Special post in a day or two which will help you plan the prasadams well in advance . 

I love coconut rice  right from my childhood days . It is naturally sweet because of the fresh coconut gratings used and the spice level is very low with just a little  pepper powder and whole red chillies used for the spice quotient.

Having said that , this Chitrannam is not relished at my home as all of them are spice lovers, but I made a very little quantity for the sake of blogging and also to satisfy my long time craving of Thengaai Saadham. 

  ⬇️ Pin it up for future reference  ⬇️ 

Preparation Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 30 mins
Complexity - Simple 
Serves  - 2 to 3

1 cup regular rice (150gms)  **no basmati rice
3/4th  cup fresh grated coconut (100 gms approx)
10 to 12 cashews roughly broken
2 tbsp fresh edible coconut oil
1tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp channa dhall /bengal gram
1 tsp udad dhall / black gram 
2 tsp pepper powder 
3 to 4 dry red chillies
Few fresh curry leaves 
Salt as needed 
Pinch of asafoetida 

  • Pressure cook the rice in advance and spread it on a plate to cool down . We don't need mushy and sticky rice .It has to be grainy and fluffy ,so adjust water accordingly while cooking. 
  • In a thick bottomed wok / kadai heat the coconut oil and fry the cashews first , followed by the mustard, channa dhall & udad dhall followed by curry leaves and dry red chillies . Donot burn any of the tempering ingredients.  
  • Add the grated coconut in the end and fry it on low flame till you get a nice aroma . Turn off the stove ..the coconut will get crisp in the heat naturally. 
  • Add the pepper powder , salt as needed and mix well with the fried coconut.  You will now see that the coconut gratings have absorbed the coconut oil nicely and will appear like a soggy mixture. This is the perfect consistency. 
  • Slowly add the cooled rice and gently mix it taking care to not break the rice.  You can adjust the salt or pepper powder at this stage . 
  • Donot mix harshly else it will become mushy and appear like a mass.
  • Let the rice sit for 15 to 20 mins before serving so that the rice absorbs the flavor of the coconut mixture. 

Tips to keep in mind
  • As we are making this for prasad, rice has to be freshly cooked.  So, ensure that you have enough time for the rice to cool down before you can mix it with the coconut tempering. 
  • Do not add too much pepper powder , we will end up with pepper flavored  rice .
  • Groundnuts can be used in place of cashews.
  • Regular cooking oil can be used instead of coconut oil .
  • Always thaw the coconut to room temperature if using frozen coconut.  
  • Dessicated coconut is a BIG NO . It will ruin the taste of the rice. 


  1. I absolutely love Thengai Saadham and you are reminding me that I have not made it in ages. I never added pepper in the past but will add this time will give the rice a lovely flavour

  2. ooh ! I am a HUGE fan of this thengai saadham as both a prasadam and as a quick brunch when I have to cook only for myself. Pati used to make some morkozhamabu and appalam for a meal and it was super bliss as a meal... - Kalyani

  3. We like thengai sadam and often make it at home. Your platter looks delicious Priya.

  4. Wow! Thengai Saadham served in a coconut shell tells its own story. Marvelous! I have had this long time back. Your post has revived those memories. Now all that I want to do is just make this soulful saadham recipe. I'm yearning for it.

  5. I love fresh thengai saadam. It is complete when it is served in a coconut shell, so perfect. This is the best of South Indian recipes

  6. Coconut rice is my favorite mixed rice. Love the freshness of this simple mixed rice. Adding pepper powder is new to me, it must add a nice punch to the rice. Will try that next time.


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