Milagu Jeera Sadam / Pepper and Jeera Rice / Variety Rice / Kalavai Sadam

A Flavourful, Spicy Temple Prasadam / Rice Variety from the South Indian Cuisine specially for Thai Poosam Festival

Milagu Jeera Sadam / Pepper and Jeera Rice / Variety Rice / Kalavai Sadam

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.

Milagu Jeera Rice 1

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


  1. Cooked Rice – 1 cup
  2. Black Pepper – 1 tblsp
  3. Cumin seeds – 1 tblsp
  4. Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  5. Ghee – 1 tblsp
  6. Few Whole Red chillies (optional)
  7. Curry Leaves – a sprig
  8. Cashew Nuts – 2-3 nos. roughly chopped or whole as preferred
  9. Salt as per taste


  1. Pressure cook 1 cup of rice with 1.5 cups of water for atleast 3 whistles. Cool it and keep aside.
  2. Dry roast black pepper and cumin seeds and roughly grind them into a coarse powder.
  3. Heat a non-stick kadhai or pan, add ghee and once its hot, add mustard seeds, and allow it to crackle.
  4. Add curry leaves, cashew nuts, whole red chillies (optional) and then add the rice, salt, the roasted coarse powder.
  5. Toss and mix everything well. Add some more ghee if required, switch off the flame and serve it hot / warm.

Recipe Notes

  • 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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Vidya Narayan

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Vidya Narayan

Hi Everyone, I am Vidya Narayan & Welcome to my blog MasalaChilli. Born in a Traditional Palakkad Iyer (South Indian) Family with strong value systems to an exceptionally strong and independent Single Mom, spent most of my childhood studying well (as most Iyer girls do).

This Post Has 58 Comments

  1. This is so beautiful and tempting recipe!! love it

  2. Such a traditional dish Vidya….I haven’t tried this before….but yeah I tasted in temples…loved the way of using pepper and jeera, healthy, tasty and really peps our mood 😊

    1. Yes, normally this isn’t made too much at home like our regular lemon rice etc & this is more of a temple prasadam variety. I make this once or twice in a month, is a good way to detox considering too much pepper and jeera. Thank you dear.

  3. I love this rice. Actually, I love any spiced rice. 🙂

  4. Nice recipe, have heard of it but I have never eaten this pepper rice, though a tamilian, because born and raised outside Tamil Nadu. Will try out your recipe.

    1. Thank you Sundari for visiting the blog. I have made this recipe entirely on the basis of my tasting at the temple so didn’t have any idea how it should be actually. I am just like you, born and brought up in Mumbai. Cheers!

  5. I love this rice , interesting to see the pepper is added in powdered form , have had a version with whole peppercorns. can’t wait to try it out! love the photography as well!

    1. Same here actually, I love anything pepper. Thank you so much. Always look forward for your motivating comments.

      1. Thank you Vidya, same here as well!

  6. I don’t like rice but this looks yum and i can have this. Will definitely try this.

  7. I make jeera rice, but wow this is totally different, I’ll have to try your method sometime 🙂

    1. This is completely different from Jeera Rice, also much flavourful! Its a great way to include black pepper in your diet and detox a bit. Thank you so much, do try! I am sure you will love it.

  8. A flavorful way to use leftover rice. My son likes spicy food. I’m sure it would fall in his favorite rice dishes

    1. Thank you so much for visiting the blog. I have made this using fresh cooked rice as this was a prasad but you can do the same with leftover rice. I am sure your son will love it, do let me know if he does!

  9. Hi Vidya, last night I was commenting here, but power went off and couldn’t complete it.
    My favourite prasadam. Even I visit temples to have Prasad always. I don’t know what is that which makes the food so tasty and divine.
    I was making this today but didn’t have normal rice. Will make it tomorrow.
    I have designed a saree with the same cloth of the background of your recipe photo. You can see that in my profile.

    1. Hey, its totally cool dear. I can understand. I am glad to receive your comment now and agree about our opinions on the same. I will check out the saree on your blog for sure. This is actually a cotton dupatta which I own since long but havent really used it – finally turned into some use for the blog. Glad you noticed.

  10. This rice looks so delicious, would be great with curd rice as you mentioned, Vidya! I love the fried cashewnuts

    1. Cashew nuts – I bet you would eye that Goan beauty!! haha.. Thank you so much dear.

  11. I love discovering new ways to cook rice, this recipe sounds easy to make yet its very flavoursome.

    1. Thanks dear so much. Glad you liked it, is indeed flavoursome.

  12. Lovely,tasty rice!Bookmarked this recipe for future tiff inbox recipes!

  13. Vidya
    loved the trivia associated with the dish!! You are right that the flavor of Prasad is always comforting since it is directly from God’s house. The recipe is a keeper. I am going to try soon.

    1. Thank you so much dear Sonal and glad you feel that way. Love!

  14. This rice looks delicious Vidya, do need to try this sometime. Nice share

  15. Vidya, I too remember temples more with the type of prasadam served than anything else. Guess that’s a foodie thing. Pepper spiced rice, that’s ew to me but wouldn’t mind trying it as I love pepper.

    1. Agree about the foodie thing dear. Glad to have received your comment finally and thank you for all the kind words!

  16. Loved reading your this post Vidya! and Pepper and Jeera rice is simply divine. I love temple food and always try to create the same recipe at home 🙂 not always I succeed but at least I try:) Bookmarking this recipe as my daughter loves flavoured rice.

    1. Thank you and glad we share the same feelings about temple prasad. Attempting is important, result should never be the target. Our humble and sincere efforts are the key to making a good prasad offering. I hope your daughter loves this.

  17. Annam parabrahmam, it is fine to connect with the almighty thru food!! I do the same 😂
    Parthasarathy koil sarkarai Pongal, Mylapore kabali koil puliuodharai, Ramakrishnan mitt sambar saadam, the list is endless!
    Milagu jeera saadam looks inviting, I can literally feel
    My sinus melting away as I read thru the method!! 😊

    1. HaHa & my mouth waters reading your endless list of hot places to check out temple food!! Have literally noted the same. Lolz!! Thank you so much for the kind words and the sinus melting effect was the same for my husband too .. Cheers!

  18. I simply love reading your posts.. beautiful write up. Prasadam looks tempting. Lovely recipe

    1. I love the fact that you appreciate it so much my dear. thank you so much. A much needed boost!

  19. I agree about the temple prasadam, Vidya. Your rice looks so good, I want to make it and am already thinking which pickle i should have with it 🙂

    1. Thank you so much dear. I would strongly suggest no pickle with this as the pepper is very overpowering. Curd rice and papads are the best combo Or a good veggie raita will also do.

      1. Sure will do!

  20. Hey Vidya, loved this simple yet flavorful recipe, I love variety rice and this one I am going to try soon, Loved it. What goes best with this kind of rice?Rasam, sambhar or any curry?

    1. Hi Swati, Thank you for all the kind words and glad you liked the dish. Well, since this has loads of pepper, I would suggest a curd rice for sure on the side to give that cooling effect along with some papad or raita. Rasam or Sambar would be very spicy along with this.

  21. I love the prasadams we get in South Indian temples.We lived in Chennai earlier. This rice preparation is too good. Will make it soon.

    1. Oh Chennai is it? Nice to know that. Majority of our temples serve only rice as the main prasad and I agree about the delicious variety. Thanks so much.

  22. Hi Vidya, the rice sounds very flavorful and must have tasted delicious. I have never been to SI temples and don’t know about the kind of prasadam and all. But seeing all your prasadam posts I am now getting to know about.

    1. Thanks Sapana. Majority of our prasads are rice based including the sweets. Do try making few varieties at home. Thank you for stopping by.

  23. This is a must do from now on for Thaipusam. Usually, I do a panchamritham and then wander around the house looking for something spicy to tame down the indulgent sweetness. This looks perfect …

    1. Oh tell me about it.. I resist myself from making sweets at home, with both of us being major sweet tooths, everything gets polished off soon. ha ha .. Do try these, I am sure you would love it. Thanks Seema!

  24. Wow..what a flavorsome dish… Great way to use up left over rice too… delicious

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