top of page

Rice, lentil and vegetable mix from Tamil Nadu (Kadamba sadam)

South India has a number of one-pot rice dishes. These dishes were developed for a couple of reasons: for the farmers to take a filling, nutritious meal for the day's work, travel, and fasting. These meals usually have a base of rice and are loaded with lentils and vegetables. The rice provides the carbs; the vegetables provide essential minerals and vitamins; the lentils provide vegetable protein, root starch fibre, and complex carbohydrates to keep you satiated.

This is one of those healthy one-pot meals. The flavours are lovely and complex, and the vegetables and lentils add an array of textures. The dish is served with yoghurt/raita and pickles of your choice. This is one of those perfect dishes for those vegetarians who are into intermittent fasting in today's modern day. This dish is filling, and the slow-release carbohydrates from the root vegetables keep you satiated and full.

Southern Spice is a thin volume of amazing recipes by a master chef. This volume rounded up my collection of Chandra Padmanabhan's cookbooks. It is filled with amazing recipes from South India, like this one. Each recipe is absolutely delicious, stays true to the core of the native cuisine, and is always a crowd-pleaser. I highly recommend this and all her other cookbooks as a must-have for South Indian cuisine.

For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.

Southern Flavours is another cookbook from Chandra Padmanabhan that I adore. The recipes are varied across the southern states of India, and each recipe turns out very well. The recipes, like this one, are authentic and wonderfully flavoured. This cookbook is for those who want to go beyond the ordinary and enjoy very localized cuisines from the South.

For more recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the spice powder:

3 tablespoons coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

11/2 tablespoons split Bengal gram (chana dal)

11/2 tablespoons split white, black gram (urad dal)

5-6 dried red chillies

1/2 teaspoon asafoetida

For the temper:

4 tablespoons ghee

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

11/2 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 teaspoon husked, split black gram (urad dal)

2 dried red chillies

10-12 curry leaves

For the rice:

11/2 tablespoons black chickpeas (kala chana)

11/2 tablespoons black-eyed peas (lobia beans)

2+3 cups water

11/2 tablespoons whole green gram (sabut mung beans)

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup long-grain rice

Water, as needed

1/2 cup sheet beans (val dal)

1/2 cup elephant yams, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup peas

2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Salt, to taste

3 cups of water

Cilantro, to garnish

To make the spice powder, Dry roast the coriander seeds, fenugreek, Bengal, and black gram in a dry frying pan until they are toasted and lightly coloured. Cool completely. Add the roasted spices to a spice mill with the asafoetida and blitz to a fine powder. Set aside.

Soak the black chickpeas and black-eyed peas together in the water overnight. Soak the whole green gram in water overnight.

Drain the lentils and add 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and scoop off the scum. Simmer gently for 40 minutes.

While the chickpeas and black-eyes peas are simmering, wash out the mung beans and keep them ready. After the beans have simmered for 40 minutes, add the mung bean and top up with water if needed. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes scooping off any scum on the top if needed. The beans should all be cooked through but not mushy. Each of them should maintain a good bite for texture. Drain and set aside.

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. Set aside.

Heat the ghee on low heat for the temper in a large pot, one that will contain the entire dish. Add the mustard seeds, and they will splutter in 10 seconds. Add the cumin seeds and black gram and fry for 10 more seconds. Add the red chillies and curry leaves and give a good turn of the ingredients.

Add the vegetables, beans, yams, sweet potatoes, and peas and cook on medium-low till the vegetables are caramelized and light golden. Turn the vegetables over often so they cook evenly. Add the spice powder and mix well, frying the spices for 2 minutes.

Add the tamarind, turmeric, salt, and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the yams and sweet potatoes are cooked and mushy. Check often to ensure a wet sauce and that the liquids do not dry out completely.

Add the rice and cooked lentil mix. Mix in well and simmer for 2-3 minutes. The final sadam should be quite wet and mushy. Taste for salt and adjust as needed.

Serve hot, garnished with cilantro, and accompanied with yoghurt and a pickle of your choice.

29 views0 comments


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr Social Icon
  • Instagram
  • Blogger
bottom of page