Milagu Jeera Sadam / Pepper and Jeera Rice / Variety Rice
Another dish from the Coorg Spices series, I am just loving the aroma of the fresh batch of black pepper and simply cannot hold myself from making one of the best varieties of rice dishes from South India, the Milagu Jeera Sadam or Pepper and Jeera Rice.
This is one of the variety rice or Kalavai sadam that is usually made on festive occasions and especially served as temple prasadam in Lord Vishnu and Lord Karthikeya / Murugan temples in South India. The combination of pepper and jeera or cumin aids in digestion, clears chest congestion etc. This particular rice dish is usually made with a lot of ghee or clarified butter. You can, however, make the same using vegetable oil, but the aroma and the flavor of ghee cannot be matched. In any case, it is a universal fact that the flavour and taste of temple prasadams cannot be matched, ever! The divine grace, blessings of the Almighty and the love with which the food is prepared and served, all adds up to the taste and flavor, making it extremely difficult to replicate.
Will share a little story here in the above context – We have a Murugan Kovil or Lord Murugan Temple closer to our place that we sometimes visit. The Temple usually shuts at 9pm in the evenings and before they close the doors and the Lord rests, he is offered a prasadam (the dinner) which is later on distributed to all who visit. I, absolutely love the Jeera Milagu Rice that is served at the temple usually on Thursday evenings so, I often either wait or enter the temple premises around 8.30 pm especially to savour the rice.
My husband often remarks that this shouldn’t be the way, rather the right way but I always feel that my connection with the Almighty is with food as well, amongst other things. From a very young age, I have enjoyed eating temple prasadams and for someone who cooks mostly for others, this is an absolutely overwhelming feeling so I don’t like missing the opportunity of receiving the Lord’s love.
With this recipe, I have tried my best to replicate the rice that is served at the temple. This month is Thai Maasam and is celebrated all over with grand festivities especially in Murugan Temples. According to mythology, on the day of Thai Poosam, Goddess Parvati gifted the mighty Vel (Lord Murugan is also known as Vel Murugan) to destroy the demon named Tharakasura. So the day is celebrated as victory over evil.
Since this rice dish is slightly on a spicier side, on account of the pepper used, you cannot indulge more, especially by kids. I like making this at home with a combination of curd rice as it soothes the spice quotient from the black pepper. Fried cashew nuts add an excellent bite to the dish. Again, I would reiterate as in all my variety rice posts, this should only be made with a short grain rice and not with basmati rice. The aroma of the spices and the ghee are the most important flavours of this dish, which shouldn’t be compromised using a flavoured rice like Basmati.
Read the recipe below and the step by step pics of making a batch of one of the most flavourful rice varieties of South India.
If you are interested in more temple prasadam varieties, please check out the following recipe
Happy Thai Maasam!
Recipe for Milagu Jeera Sadam / Pepper and Jeera Rice / Variety Rice / Kalavai Sadam
Prep Time – 20 minutes (pressure cooking and cooling)
Cook time – 10 to 15 minutes
Serves – 4 to 5 nos. as prasad
- Cooked Rice – 1 cup
- Black Pepper – 1 tblsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tblsp
- Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Ghee – 1 tblsp
- Few Whole Red chillies (optional)
- Curry Leaves – a sprig
- Cashew Nuts – 2-3 nos. roughly chopped or whole as preferred
- Salt as per taste
- Pressure cook 1 cup of rice with 1.5 cups of water for atleast 3 whistles. Cool it and keep aside.
- Dry roast black pepper and cumin seeds and roughly grind them into a coarse powder.
- Heat a non-stick kadhai or pan, add ghee and once its hot, add mustard seeds, and allow it to crackle.
- Add curry leaves, cashew nuts, whole red chillies (optional) and then add the rice, salt, the roasted coarse powder.
- Toss and mix everything well. Add some more ghee if required, switch off the flame and serve it hot / warm.
- In case you prefer a less spicy version, reduce the amount of pepper.
- I have used Ponni Raw Rice (A South Indian Variety) for making this dish. You may use Sona Masuri or Kolam (preferably a short grain rice).
- You can make this dish with leftover rice too. However, for prasadams, fresh rice is cooked.
- Adding more ghee, increases the aroma and flavor.
- I have not added whole red chillies as the peppers provided enough spice kick to the dish.
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