Thengai Paal Sadam Recipe: A Flavorful South Indian Coconut Milk Rice Dish

Coconut milk rice, also known as Thengai Paal Sadam is a flavourful and aromatic rice based dish. If you want to indulge in a hearty and wholesome meal, but without much fuss, this coconut milk rice recipe can be your go to dish.

Published On Apr 25, 2024 | Updated On Apr 25, 2024


A South Indian staple, the coconut milk rice recipe or Thengai Paal Sadam is a simple and filling dish prepared with mild spices and coconut milk. The dish consists of rice, onions, mixed vegetables, along with a variety of herbs and spices. Quite similar to pulao, coconut and rice milk is surprisingly flavourful and can be paired with any side dish of your choice. The flavour and texture that the coconut milk adds to this coconut milk Asian recipe is what enhances the uniqueness of the dish. A one-pot rice dish, the coconut milk rice recipe is delicate and creamy. Not just delicious but also high on the nutritional quotient, you can customise the dish with your choice of vegetables as well. Learn how to prepare this simple yet delectable coconut milk Asian recipe with a few simple steps.

  1. 1 cup uncooked aged rice
  2. 1 to 1 and ½ cup grated coconut
  3. 1 tbsp chana dal
  4. ½ tbsp urad dal
  5. 12 to 15 cashew nuts
  6. 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
  7. ½ tsp salt
  8. 2 tbsp oil or ghee
  9. ½ tsp mustard seeds
  10. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  11. 1 pinch hing/ asafoetida
  12. 1 to 2 green chillies
  13. 1 dried red chilli
  14. 2 cups water

  1. Wash the rice at least three times and then drain the water.
  2. In a pot bring the water to a rolling boil and then add the rice. Cover and cook on low heat until the rice is completely cooked. Be careful not to overcook the rice.
  3. Keep the rice aside and let it cool completely once done.
  4. Add oil or ghee to a pan and let it heat.
  5. Add the cashew nuts and cook them until they turn golden. Then set them aside.
  6. In the same pan add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilli, chana dal and urad dal and saute them. Cook until the dal turns golden or an aroma begins to release. 
  7. Add in the ginger, slit the green chillies and add them, along with curry leaves. Saute for 30 to 60 seconds until the curry leaves turn crisp. Then add in the hing. 
  8. Thereafter add the coconut, along with a sprinkle of salt. 
  9. Add the rice, and turn off the heat. 
  10. Mic well and taste, add more salt if required, and serve.

Pro tip: Add lemon juice for an enhanced flavour. 


1. Is the coconut milk rice recipe vegan-friendly?
Yes, the coconut milk rice recipe is vegan-friendly as the recipe does not include any dairy products.

2. Is there a particular variety of rice that is required for the recipe?
No, you can use any variety of rice as per your preference. The recipe, however, is most applicable for aged basmati rice. If you are using a different variety of rice, use the same amount of water as you would to cook plain steamed rice.

3. Can frozen coconut be used in coconut milk rice recipes?
Yes, you can use frozen or fresh coconut, whichever is available. 

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