Sesame Seed Rice (Ellu Sadam) with Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt Salad (Kathirikai Pachadi)

There was a time when I bought a lot of cookbooks. I still do but I have become selective now. As promised, here is my first post from my cookbook shelf.  Southern Spice is a book I enjoy reading. The author is Chandra Padmanabhan and I also own her first book, ‘Dakshin’. All recipes in these books are from South India. These two recipes are from the state of Tamil Nadu. Her recipes are simple, well laid out and easy to follow. The recipes below are adapted from her book. The eggplant dish was just exquisite, I could not stop eating it!



Sesame Seed Rice (Ellu Sadam)

This makes a great packed lunch or for a potluck. The sesame seeds pack in protein and thought they are high in fat, they are the healthy fats.


1 cup (US) basmati or long grained rice

2 cups water

salt to taste

Spice Powder:

1/2 cup white sesame seed (ellu or til)

2 tbsp grated coconut (I used desiccated but dry coconut- copra or fresh can also be used)

4 dry red chillies


2 tbsp oil

3 tbsp shelled peanuts (you could cheat with roasted peanuts)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp each urad dal (black gram) and 1 tsp channa dal (Bengal gram) – if you don’t have both, don’t fret – it gives a nice crunch though

curry leaves – 10-15  leaves


Cook rice with salt and water and spread on a plate to cool. Leftover rice works well too!

In a  frying pan roast the sesame seeds and coconut separately for 2-3 minutes on a low flame. Set aside.

Heat a tsp of oil and fry the red chili for a couple of minutes. Grind with the sesame seed and coconut to a fine powder.

Heat oil and add the peanuts (if using raw) and fry till they are cooked (a few minutes). Add the rest of the tempering ingredients. When mustard seeds splutter and the dals are golden brown and remove from heat.

Mix the cooled rice, spice powder, and tempered ingredients and serve with a raita or the eggplant curd salad. Enjoy!

Roasted Eggplant and Yogurt Salad

We love eggplant in our house and cook eggplant in all types of cuisine. This is a must try!

1 large or 2 medium eggplant

1 1/2 cup yogurt

salt to taste

1-2 inch piece ginger, chopped finely

1-2 green chillies, finely chopped (increase or decrease depending on the spice you want)


2 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

a pinch asafoetida powder (it is used in a lot of south Indian cooking especially since garlic is not used)

1 dry red chili – broken into pieces

1 tsp each urad dal (black gram) and channa dal (Bengal gram)

5-6 curry leaves

To garnish – 1 tbsp coriander leaves (cilantro) chopped


Wash eggplant. Roast on the stove or in the oven for about 8-10 minutes – turning it around often.

Place eggplant under running water or in a bowl of cool water and peel the charred skin. Mash the pulp and keep aside.

In a pan heat some oil and add the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard splutters add the chilli and ginger and fry for a minute or so.

Add this to the mashed eggplant and mix with yogurt and salt .

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!







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