Thengai Sadam (Coconut rice) -South Indian gluten free rice dish

Thengai Sadam

Todays recipe is about Tamil Nadu’s specialty dish called Thengai Sadam (Coconut rice). When I was teaching this recipe to my Caucasian friend I explained the recipe in an easy to understand manner. I told her we make a simple warm vinaigrette and mix that with rice just like we mix it with greens or any salad vegetables. That seemed to work well as she makes dishes like lemon rice, sesame rice, coconut rice pretty regularly like a fellow Tamilian. I taught her how to cook the base sauces and now she makes them hassle free and adds it to cooked quinoa, brown rice or cooked oats.

For the coconut rice, I made a simple tempering with mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and dry red chillies. A little shredded coconut is added towards the end of cooking and then mix the rice and garnish with some roasted peanuts or cashews for added crunch. Your thengai sadam is ready is less than 10 minutes. This is one of the rice dish offered to Lord Venkateshwara during “purattasi” month Saturday prayers (thaliyal menu) in Hindu household. Serve warm with any curry or plain potato chips will do.

Thengai Sadam

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course lunch
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 4


  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp urad dhal / bengal gram
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 2 tsp asafoetida
  • ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • salt


  • ½ cup roasted unsalted peanuts and cashews


  • Heat oil in a kadai/ pan. Once they get heated up, throw in the mustard seeds and let it pop.
  • Then add the urad dhal,asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chillies and saute for couple of minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and add the coconuts and salt. Give it a complete mix.
  • Add the rice and mix well. Garnish with peanuts on top. Serve right away.Additional notes
  • Coconut rice makes an awesome entree for parties. Just cook the rice in bulk and add your coconut base. I have served mine Indian potato curry or fish or shrimp or chicken curry.
  • They are an excellent picnic food. I like packing them in air tight containers but make sure be keep it warm dry weather. Too much heat will spoil the coconut and make the rice taste bad.
Keyword Thengai Sadam

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