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South Indian Coconut Rice

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“Lovely with curries, particularly sea-food, this rice dish from Tamil Nadu is seasoned with lightly roasted coconut, cilantro, curry leaves, dried red chillies, and mustard seeds. It also contains a small amount of chana dal and urad dal, which, when roasted, provide a nutty taste and texture. If you cannot obtain fresh coconut, soak 1 1/4 cups of unsweetened, desiccated coconut in warm water (to barely cover) for 1 hour then drain and squeeze dry.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Wash the rice well and cook until tender in a rice cooker or by the absorption method.
  2. While the rice is cooking, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a medium-sized pan or skillet, and when hot add the chillies, chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds. Stir and fry until the chillies darken and the dals turn golden brown.
  3. Add the curry leaves, salt, asafetida and coconut, and stir and fry for a minute or two before reducing heat.
  4. Gently cook the coconut mixture until the coconut turns a toasted reddish-brown and becomes quite crisp. It burns easily, so don't take your eyes off it for a second, and keep the coconut moving by stirring and tossing constantly.
  5. As soon as the coconut is the right colour and texture, turn off the heat. If the rice is not ready, transfer the coconut mixture to a bowl, so that it doesn't continue browning in the hot pan.
  6. Mix the coconut mixture gently through the hot, cooked rice, then stir through the chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

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