Many variations of this dish exist in South India, but the one below is popular in Karnataka. Kai = coconut; sasive = mustard seeds; anna = rice. Basic Chitranna in Karnataka refers to rice flavored with lemon juice, salt, turmeric, chillies, cilantro, and mustard seeds and channa dal seasoned in a teaspoon of oil. Each family tweaks this recipe by adding or omitting grated coconut, peanuts, cashews, onions, capsicum, dill, etc. In a broader definition, chitranna includes plain cooked rice that is mixed with a masala / paste that has been cooked separately.
Credit for this recipe goes to my mother-in-law. As with all women of her generation, she never measures anything and just eyeballs all ingredients for consistent results each time. I had her lay out all that she would use for this dish, and measured each ingredient before adding it to my recipe book.
Coconut & Mustard Seeds Rice (Kai Sasive Chitranna)
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds (available at all Indian grocery stores)
- 1/2 cup grated coconut
- 1/2 cup cilantro (chop)
- 4 red chillies
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/4 tsp asafetida (optional – available at all Indian grocery stores)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp salt
1) Cook 2 cups of raw rice and set aside to cool.
2) In a small blender jar, make a paste of all ingredients above without adding any water. Set aside.
3) For seasoning, set aside the following:
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/8 tsp asafetida
- 1 Tbsp channa dal
- 1 Tbsp udad dal
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1 large spring curry leaves (stripped, washed & dried)
- 1 tsp turmeric
4) Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a medium pan and add mustard seeds. Cover and wait for it to pop on a medium flame,about a minute.
5) Add asafetida, channa dal & udad dal and lightly brown.
6) Add curry leaves and stir till it stops crackling.
7) Add peanuts and roast till golden brown. Remove from heat and add turmeric.
8) Immediately add the coconut-cilantro masala and “fry” in the hot pan for a few minutes. Let it cool in the same pan.
9) Mix with the cooked white rice and adjust salt and tamarind paste to taste.