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Amp Up Your Rice Meal With These Simple South Indian Pre-Mixed Delights

Quick fix meals – we think of this a product of the post-microwave generation. That’s not the case in many parts of South India where the pre-mixed rice has remained an ‘instant’ hit for a few generations. Toss rice in a pre-prepared powder, add some tempering and voila, you’re good to go. Campus and work lunch boxes are full of them. Some restaurants call them variety rice, often offering a thali or platter of three or four types of mixed rice that make the perfect quick business lunch. The Sapthasawara Thali in Thaligai, Chennai is one of my favourite such platters in the city.  

Chef Vijay Kumar helms Dakshin, Crowne Plaza Chennai, that has stood the test of time as one of India’s premier fine dining South Indian venues. At a recent food promotion that showcased street food from Chennai, our conversation drifted towards kalantha sadam (Tamil for mixed rice). The quest for immunity-boosting recipes over the last couple of years made him add an Angaya Podi Sadam (see recipe) to Dakshin’s wide repertoire. Angaya Podi is a herbal powder that combines multiple immunity-boosting ingredients and is recommended for young mothers as well as a remedy for digestive issues.

Also read: 19 Best South Indian Breakfast Recipes | Easy South Indian Breakfast Recipes

From puliyodharai (tamarind rice) in Tamil Nadu to Vaangi Baath (with brinjal) from Karnataka, there are multiple options that are perfect for an office lunch box or when you travel. These rice dishes taste good even at room temperature and even after a few hours. We’ve rounded up some interesting recipes that you can try at home:  

1. Ellu Sadam (Sesame Rice) 


For the sesame powder (roast and grind):

  • 2 tbsp black urad dal
  • 3 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt (to taste) 

For tempering: 

  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp split urad dal
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp ghee


  • Heat oil in a pan, add all the ingredients given (except the curry leaves, under  the roast and grind list) and roast on a low medium flame for about a minute. 
  • Add the curry leaves, turn off the heat and let it cool. 
  • Transfer the roasted mixture and blend to a coarse powder in a mixer.
  • Add ghee in a pan and temper the ingredients (under the list for tempering). Add cooked rice, once the ingredients splutter and mix well.  
  • Now add 2 tbsp of the sesame powder, salt (as required). Stir well and serve.

2. Angaya Podi Sadam 

Recipe Courtesy -Vijay Kumar, Master Chef, Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park  

Angaya Podi is available on online platforms. You could also try to make it at home if you can source ingredients like the neem flowers: 


  • Coriander seeds – 15 gm 
  • Neem flower – 60 gm 
  • Sundakkai (pea aubergine) vathal – 60 gm 
  • Pepper corns – 5 gm 
  • Jeera/cumin – 5 gm 
  • Ajwain – 3 gm 
  • Dry ginger – 5 gm 
  • Salt (to taste) 


  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan, and add dry neem flower and in low flame dry roast till dark brown. Keep aside.
  • Add Sundakkai vathal and dry roast till dark brown and keep aside.
  • Add Manathakali vathal and dry roast till dark brown and keep aside. 
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and dry roast till golden brown.
  • Cool all the roasted ingredients and grind all the ingredients in a mixer.
  • You can mix this powder with hot rice and ghee or opt for the pre-mixed rice option. 
  • For the pre-mixed option, temper mustard seeds, jeera, urad dal and curry leaves in gingelly/sesame oil. Add sliced shallots (sambar onions) and saute. Add the angaya podi with the cooked rice and the tempered ingredients. Stir well and serve.

Also read: 10 Most Popular South Indian Rice Dishes

3. Karuveppilai Sadam (Curry Leaf Rice)



  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 tbsp gingelly/sesame oil 
  • 1 tbsp chana dal 
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • Salt (to taste)

For the curry leaf powder (roast and grind):

  • 1 cup curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp gingelly/sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chana dal
  • 1/2 cup urad dal
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp peppercorn
  • 1/4 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • 1/4 tbsp asafoetida powder


  • Heat oil in a pan, add all ingredients (under roast and grind) except for the curry leaves and roast on a low medium flame for about a minute. 
  • Add the curry leaves and asafoetida powder before you turn off the flame. Let it cool. 
  • Transfer this roasted mixture to a mixer jar and grind to a coarse powder.
  • Add oil in a pan and temper the ingredients – the chana dal , mustard seeds ,red chilli, peanut and finally the curry leaves. Roast for a minute. 
  • Add the cooked rice, 2-3 tablespoons of the of curry leaf powder and salt. Stir well, mix evenly and serve.  

About Ashwin RajagopalanI am the proverbial slashie – a content architect, writer, speaker and cultural intelligence coach. School lunch boxes are usually the beginning of our culinary discoveries.That curiosity hasn’t waned. It’s only got stronger as I’ve explored culinary cultures, street food and fine dining restaurants across the world. I’ve discovered cultures and destinations through culinary motifs. I am equally passionate about writing on consumer tech and travel.