Kalandha sadham or variety rice recipes are staple in Tamil cuisine , forming part of festival menu where it is common to have one or more of the basic rice varieties such as coconut rice, lemon rice, Tamrind rice and curd rie . These varieties are usually prepared for Adi perukku , the 18 th day of Aadi month and also a part of Pongal festival.
As far as I am concerned , variety rice dishes are a great life saver for quick school lunch box, office lunch , or for the days when you want to beg off from cooking! Yes chefs do need their me time too . Yet we cannot leave our family to the mercy of only bread and butter , being hard core foodies.Making coconut rice or any one of the other basic varieties is a cinch when you want to reduce cooking time and avoid many side dishes. Just one big container of either leftover rice or freshly cooked rice and you can make at least three different rice preps in one go under 30 minutes.
COCONUT RICE :
1. Grate fresh coconut and take care to grate only upto the white parts.Roast in a pan till golden after the tempering.
1- 2 cups or as needed plain raw rice or basmati .
Pressure cook rice with sufficient water to get nice fluffy rice.
Pressure cooks rice with sufficient water to get fluffy grains and not over cooked.
Even though the market is flooded with all kinds of ready powders and spiced tamarind paste for use readily,nothing can match the authentic home made taste.
For the Tamarind thickened sauce or paste which can be store for around two months :
1 big lemon sized tamarind ball
12 to 15 dry red chillies to make it a bit spicy so that it keeps good for a month or two.
chana dal ¼ cup,1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 or 4 tsp of roasted peanuts. Cashew nuts are also added by some .This is optional.
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 ladleful of sesame oil. This is a must as the sesame oil is the key ingredient in giving the special aroma and flavour to the tamrind rice.
Salt to taste /rock salt is used as per tradition
For the spice Powder
3 tbsp coriander seeds, 3 tsp sesame seeds( white)
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 or 4 red chillies.This is optional as the red chillies are already being added to the tamarind sauce.
Generous pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
Prepare a thick paste out of the tamarind by keeping it soaked previously for 10 minutes to soften the tamarind.
Take out as much as juice you get ,filter and keep aside.
Take a heavy bottomed pan Pour the oil and add mustard seeds.
When it splutters add the chana dal, red chillies breaking them,turmeric powder,roasted peanuts. Add salt, spice powder which you get after roasting and then dry grinding into powder.
Pinch few curry leaves.Let boil over low flame till the tamarind sauce thickens and a fine aroma wafts.
The sauce should be quite thick as you are going to store this paste.
Tamrind rice can be prepared after adding the paste to cooled fluffy rice either basmati or plain variety.
Depending on your taste you can add as much tamrind sauce as you need and after mixing well add a tsp of the spice powder to the mixed rice to enhance the aroma of the rice.
Curd rice needs no introduction . It is a south Indian specialty where a creamy thick curd is added to mashed hot rice and tempered .
1 cup mashed hot rice .
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp split udad dal
1 tsp finely chopped green chiliies or curd chillies .
1/2 tsp grated ginger
salt as needed
some pomegranate pearls ( optional )
chopped coriander leaves .
1 tsp oil for tempering .
1-2 cups thick fresh whisked curds and some milk
Mash rice, add some fresh milk and fresh curd mixture and mix well .
add salt if needed, add the prepared tempering and adjust consistency .
Usually curd rice is prepared in a loose consistency .
Thick fresh curds and thick milk is essential for making smooth creamy curd rice .