Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Coconut Rice (Thengai Sadam)

Coconut Rice (Thengai Sadam)
© All rights reserved, Thorsten Kraska, 2010

I found the original recipe for coconut rice in cookbook for vegetarian cuisine from South India and adapted it slightly to my needs and preparation. I love nutty flavors in this recipe by the sauted coconut, the roasted sesame seeds and the cashew nuts.

Coconut Rices
(should serve 4e)

1 cup long-grained rice (I used Basmati Rice)
1 tablespoon oil (in the original recipe ghee is used)
0.5 fresh coconut
1 green chili (or more, if you like it hot)
0.5 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black gram dal
1 teaspoon Bengal gram dal
1 red chili (halved, seeds removed)
0.5 teaspoons Asafoetida
8-10 curry leaves

2 table spoons oil (in the original recipe ghee is used)
4 Tablespoons cashew nuts
Sugar to taste (optional)
2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds

Prepare the coconut. Then grate the coconut flesh. I like bigger pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan and add the grated coconut. Sauté on medium high heat until the coconut is golden brown. Take from heat and take coconut out. Let dry on some paper towels. Set aside.

Dry roast the white sesame seeds until they are sligthly brown. Immediately take out of the pan and set aside.

Heat two tablespoons oil over medium high heat and add the halved cashew nuts. Sauté the nuts until golden. At last add some sugar to taste to caramelize the nuts. This will give them a delicat sweet touch: I like them this way, but you can omit this step. Remove from heat and let them dry on paper towels. Set aside.

Cook rice according to package directions with 0.5 teaspoon salt. When rice is done add finely diced or chopped green chillies and the sautéed coconut. Set aside.

When the rice is done make the tempering. Heat two teaspoons oil on high heat. Add first mustard seeds. Let cook for about 30 seconds. Then add cumin seeds, black gram dal, Bengal gram dal and the halved chili. At last add the Asafoetida and curry leaves. The tempering is done when the mustard seeds start to pop. Then add the mixture to the rice and mix. Garnish with the cashew nuts and roasted sesame seeds. Enjoy.

On the photo
I stayed here in a monochromatic color setting with brown the dominant color, except for some green. I used a wider depth of field here to get a more busier appearance of the scene. I wanted an impression of a table with plenty other dishes, although I show only one part of it. Therefore I cropped it harder, so that it looks like on a serving tray with the garnishes on the side. The coconut in the food is/was hard to highlight, but the coconut in the back does it. The whole coconut also adds a nice strcutural contrast to the brown basket and the brown backdrop. To highlight the rice more I laced it in a white bowl that acts as a framing and seprates it from the rest. The three other white circles (little bowls and coconut) are not overlapping to have them as own structural elements. The lighting was easy. Ligth from a window from upper right. On left back and back I used black flags to get a darker background. On the very fron I used a bounce from top to get some fill light in front of the bowl.