This carrot methi rice is unlike anything you have had before. It is not a pulao, and it is not a one pot meal! What it is – a South Indian spiced kalandha sadham with a freshly made spice mix ( a podi), grated carrots, fresh methi leaves ( vendhaya keerai), lots of tempering, peanuts and a squeeze of lemon juice! The sweetness of carrots counteracts the bitterness of methi and the end result is a beautiful dish you will keep coming back to.
I love kalandha sadhams, no – not pulaos. These are the South Indian versions of mixed rice dishes, where rice is separately cooked and a tempering is made with mustard, dals, peanuts and sometimes, a spice mix ( a podi like in this one) or a spiced paste ( like a pulikaichal) is added. These are the kind of lunchbox meals I grew up with. Amma makes a huge range of them and needless to say, with every vegetable one can think of. They are usually served with a vegetable curry at home, but because they are spiced really well – a pachadi (curd based raitha) and apalam or chips works well too.
Carrot Methi Rice – South Indian kalandha saadham
For the spice mix
- 1 tbsp urad
- 3-4 red chillies
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp methi or fenugreek if using vendhaya keerai or methi leaves, omit this.
- 2 tbsp coconut optional ( i did not add when making)
For tempering the rice
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1 tsp channa dal
- 2 tbsp peanuts raw peanuts if using in this stage. if you have roasted peanuts, add as garnish.
- 1 slit green chilli optional
- few curry leaves
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh methi leaves optional, read notes on this.
- 2 cups grated carrot
- ½ tsp hing
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 3 cups cooked rice
- salt to taste
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- coriander to garnish
- In a pan, dry roast chillies, urad until the dal turns slightly brown. Make sure to do this on a low flame. After the dal changes colour, add the cumin and fenugreek ( if using) and cook till it is roasted. Finally, add the coconut and mix till it is mildly brown. This will take about 3-4 minutes on a low flame. Grind to a coarse powder and keep aside. This powder can be made in bulk and stored for upto a week.
- Cook rice as you would usually do. Ensure the grains are not sticky. The same recipe can be done with alternate grains like millets and quinoa too. Let the grains completely cool.
- Grate carrots, clean and chop methi leaves if using.
- To a pan, add oil and ghee. After it gets hot, add mustard and let it pop. Now add the peanuts and dals and cook in a low flame till roasted. Add curry leaves, slit chilli, chopped methi leaves. Stir well until the leaves shrink and then the grated carrots.
- Stir well and add about 1-2 tbsp water. Add hing, turmeric and about 1/2 tsp salt. Close the pan and let the carrots cook. This will take less than 5 minutes.
- Once the carrots are cooked, open the pan and add cooked rice in batches, stirring well after each addition.
- Check for salt and add as required. The initial salt is only for the carrots, so you will need to add for the rice at this stage.
- Mix well and ensure all rice is coated with the carrot mixture. Now add 1 -2 tbsp of the spice mix we made earlier. This spice mix ( podi) is quite spicy, so adjust to your need. The green chilli can be omitted if you prefer.
- If the rice seems a little dry, add another tsp of oil and mix well. Finally, add lemon juice and coriander leaves.
- The coconut provided in the spice mix can be omitted if you plan to store it for sometime. Alternatively, you can add freshly grated coconut to the completed dish as a garnish. I prefer to add coconut as a garnish, because Arun does not enjoy it and I do. So, work with how you like.
- Methi leaves are optional in this recipe. It provides a mild bitterness which goes well with carrots. You can also make it without methi leaves. In that case, add 1/2 tsp fenugreek to the spice mix. If using methi leaves, omit this. But I highly recommend adding it if you have since the combination is amazing.
- All South Indian kalandha sadhams are on the ‘dry’ side so ensure there is enough fat to keep the dish soft and palatable.
- Serve this with a ‘curd’ based side dish because it balances the spice.
I am a big fan of South Indian kalandha sadhams and feel more at home with them than a pulao. While I have a number of pulao recipes on the site – my favourite ‘sadhams’ are Sambhariya Rice and Vatana Bhat. Both are not ‘tamil’ but are very familiar in flavour and taste!
Want more interesting rice recipes?
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help me learn more about your preferences and will help other readers.
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