How to Make The Perfect Coconut Rice

How to Make The Perfect Coconut Rice
Coconut Rice or Thengai Saadam, as it is known in Tamil, is my personal favourite in the line of flavored rice. Coming from the kitchens of South India, where coconut grows in abundance, this brand of rice is special – because, it needs to be consumed fresh. Ideally, soon after cooking — as coconut goes rancid soon, that too in the heat of the Southern Indian climate. This rice is also my favourite because it takes virtually no time to prepare, and a hot, piping meal is ready in no time.

Five tips for yummy coconut rice

  1. Go For Fresh Coconut: This rice is about the coconut really.  People usually tend to grate coconut and store it in the refrigerator. It is perfectly alright to do that. But then, freshly grated coconut lends a special freshness to the coconut rice. Go fresh as much as you can.
  2. Use the right rice: For this dish, use the long-grained rice variety like the Basmati. Short-grained rice tends to get mushy and soft. Basmati remains fluffy after cooking
  3. Spice It Up: This preparation can taste bland for some people. If you are a spice lover, add a few red chilies to the coconut tempering. What you get is a spiced up meal!
  4. Make It Nutty: Add groundnuts to this flavored rice to make it crunchy and nutty
  5. Add Coconut oil: This should be done right at the time you are serving the rice. Once this dish is ready to be served, add a teaspoon or two of cold-pressed coconut oil to the rice. It gives an extraordinary flavor to the rice.

Things to take care of

A word of caution when preparing this dish. As mentioned before, have this rice as soon as possible after being cooked. Long exposure to heat or sun will spoil the rice. Similarly, the Coconut Chutney – another coconut-based dish, also gets spoilt soon when left in warm rooms or outside the refrigerator.

The perfect accompaniments

If you are looking for an accompaniment to this rice, you should go for some spicy chutney -just to offset the blandness of this dish. I have seen people go for coconut-gravy based vegetable kurma. Not my idea of an ideal accompaniment. If you can’t think of anything, go for the papad or pappadum.

Coconut Rice | Thengai Saadam Recipe


Coconut rice is one of the many flavoured rice varieties from the kitchens of South India. It is made of desiccated coconut and spices and is a meal in itself.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Indian, south Indian
Servings 2


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Kadhai or Wok


  • 2 cups Cooked Basmati Rice
  • 1 cup Fresh Grated Coconut
  • 3 tsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal or Split Black Gram
  • 2-3 Whole Red Chilies
  • 2 Finely Chopped Green Chilies
  • 8-10 Groundnuts
  • 10-12 Curry Leaves
  • 2 tsp Cold Pressed Coconut OIl
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt to Taste


  • In a mixing bowl, add the cooked rice and spread it out evenly to cool
  • Heat cooking oil in a kadhai. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them crackle. Now add the Urad Dal, asafoetida, green chillies and the curry leaves.
  • Once the curry leaves sputter, add the red chilies and the groundnuts. Keep frying it for a minute. Make sure to keep the flame on low else the groundnuts will turn black.
  • Finally, add the grated coconut and keep stirring. Turn off the flame just as the coconut is turning golden brown.
  • Add this entire tempering to the mixing bowl with rice. Add salt. You may optionally add a teaspoon of sugar if you wish.
  • Mix the entire rice with a flat spoon careful not to mash the rice or break it. Finally, add two teaspoons of cold pressed coconut oil to the mix
  • Delicious coconut rice is now ready to be served!
Keyword coconut rice, coconut rice recipe, how to make coconut rice, the perfect coconut rice

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