A Pulao or Biryani need not necessarily be high in calorie. With health awareness being the top priority for everyone now, its the need of the hour to consistently make healthy choices and eat happily. This effort, though requires time,  makes meal planning  innovative and interesting. 

In today's recipe, the traditional Basmathi is replaced with a millet - Little Millet @ Saamai. I have already shared my thoughts on Millets and its benefits in some of my previous posts. Millets in general are Diabetic friendly, low in glycemic index, gluten free and also can be converted vegan delights. It has a good dose of fiber for low gastric emptying and ensuring longer satiety without spiking sugar levels. What more? Enjoy all the goodness in a Pulao with just a single replacement. Now for the recipe. I have given options for both vegetarian and vegan versions. Choose whatever suits your taste.
Preparation time: 10 min
Cooking time: 15 min
Category: Main course/ Vegan/ Gluten-free
Cuisine: Indian
Spice level: Moderate
Difficulty level: Easy
Serves: 2-3
Nutrition Facts
Servings 2.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 392
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 15 g23 %
Saturated Fat 2 g10 %
Monounsaturated Fat 6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 2 mg1 %
Sodium 690 mg29 %
Potassium 546 mg16 %
Total Carbohydrate 107 g36 %
Dietary Fiber 17 g67 %
Sugars 15 g
Protein 15 g30 %
Vitamin A53 %
Vitamin C77 %
Calcium14 %
Iron36 %
  • 1 cup Saamai/ Little Millet
  • 2 Onions chopped
  • 1 Carrot diced into small cubes
  • 12 beans cut into squares
  • 1 cup green peas ( fresh/ frozen)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground ginger,garlic, green chilli and mint paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 staranise
  • 1/ tsp fennel
  • 2 cardamoms
  • a dash of turmeric powder
  • a dash of sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk for vegetarian version/ 1/4 cup trim coconut milk for vegan version ( totally optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil / 1 tbsp ghee ( use according to diet preference)
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander for garnish
  • Clean Saamai rice off grit and stones. Set aside. Preferably buy cleaned variety to skip this step.
  • Grind together 1 inch piece ginger, 2-3 flakes garlic, 3 green chillies (use according to pungency), a fistful of mint leaves into a  coarse paste.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a pressure cooker. Add all the whole spices and saute until a fragrant aroma wafts.
  • Add onions and saute until translucent. Add ginger garlic mint chilli paste and saute on low flame.
  • Add in vegetables and a dash of salt. Saute well. Meanwhile, wash and rinse the millet. Let it drain. 
  • When the vegetables are half done, add millet , mix well and add 1.5 to 2 cups of hot water (too much water makes the millet mushy), buttermilk or coconut milk (in case u prefer to) salt to taste, sugar, turmeric, garam masala powder and mix well.
  • Let this mixture boil for few mins until some liquid evaporates. Close the cooker with lid and pressure cook on low flame up to two whistles. Or you can even choose to open cook until all the water evaporates. 
  • Once the pressure goes off, open and fluff the Pulao. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with any Raita and crisps.


Today I am presenting an Tam Brahm Iyengar special recipe : Kadambha Saadham it is. This recipe is almost close to Sambhar Saadham  and most commonly prepared in Vishnu temples as an offering - more frequently during the months of Margazhi. The deity is carried around by devotees in a temple procession ceremony and wound up by distributing a delicious serving of piping hot Kadambha Saadham that is offered to the Lord. (Prasaadham)

Kadhambam means a 'medley'. In this context, a medley of vegetables, mainly.

What differentiates this specialty from the regular version of Sambhar rice is its distinct pepper flavour and the use of only country grown farm vegetables. (Desi Tarkaari/ Naatu Kaaikarigal) for this preparation - eg Cluster beans, raw plantains, ash gourd, yellow pumpkin, broad beans, rarely, bitter gourd.  Seasoned and steamed Dal dumplings (Paruppu Urundai),  deep fried dry turkey berries (Sundaikkai)are also added.  Vegetables like beans, carrot, potatoes, green peas, bottle gourd, onion, garlic and other strong spices like cinnamon or cloves are under abstention. The temple versions also do not include tomatoes or drumstick while the homemade versions  sometimes do. It is interesting to note that the Parthasarathy Temple located at Triplicane, Chennai is known for its version of Kadambha Saadham (they add bittergourds to Kadambha Saadham). 

Nutritionally analyzing, the recipe generally calls for an equal measure of rice and dhal and is sufficient to satiate energy needs from the carbs (rice) and body building from the proteins (dhals) and protection from the vitamins and minerals (vegetables, spices and seasonings)  and is THE perfect meal post a temple ceremony that involves heavy activity. I have shared a simple home style version of the recipe and I have included tomatoes and drumsticks. And last of all, the best way to cook this is by open cooking method that I have already discussed in my Bisibele Baath post. Link here

Why don't you give it a try ? 

Preparation time:10 min
Cooking time: 30 min
Category:Main Course
Cuisine: South Indian / Tambrahm Style
Spice level: Medium
Difficulty level: Medium
Serves: 3-4
Source: MIL
Nutrition Facts
Servings 3.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 471
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19 g29 %
Saturated Fat 10 g49 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 8 mg3 %
Sodium 71 mg3 %
Potassium 494 mg14 %
Total Carbohydrate 64 g21 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g23 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 15 g29 %
Vitamin A13 %
Vitamin C3 %
Calcium19 %
Iron11 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
Rice, Dhal and Vegetables
  • 1 cup Raw rice
  • 3/4th -1 cup Toor dhal
  • 2 bowls - Diced Vegetables (mixture of white and yellow pumpkins,white pumpkins, broad beans, cluster beans, chayote, brinjals, drumsticks, tomatoes - exclude drumsticks if offering to God)
Spices and other ingredients
  • 1 cup tamarind extract prepared from lemon sized tamarind ball
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1.5 tbsp Chana dhal
  • 5-6 red chillies
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 3-4 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2-3 flakes compounded Asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • a fistful of dry turkey berries (optional but recommended)
  • Crystal salt to taste.
  • 1 tsp pounded Jaggery
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp peanut oil or sesame oil
  • Curry leaves
  • 1 tsp castor oil
  • Wash and rinse the Dhal well. Wash and soak the rice and set aside.
  • Prepare tamarind extract and set this aside. Boil 5 cups of water and set that aside as well.
  • Heat a thick and big vessel, that can hold all the above ingredients. Add Dal and 2 cups hot water initially. Add turmeric and castor oil and let this cook on a low medium flame.
  • Meanwhile, roast together all the spices in 1 tsp ghee (use from the 2 tbsp set aside for tempering) leaving just the desiccated coconut and mustard seeds. Let a nice aroma waft and turn off the heat.
  • Transfer to a plate and set aside to slightly cool and grind into a fine powder along with coconut. Keep it closed to keep the aroma intact. 
  • Stir the Dhal once and continue cooking. When it is cooked  and almost half done, add the vegetables excluding tomatoes. Add a dash of salt at this point.
  • When the Dhal and vegetables are 3/4th done, add the rice and 2.5 cups of hot water and continue to cook until the entire mixture turns soft and mushy. The vegetables and Dhal should be completely cooked and the vegetables should still hold its shape.
  • Now add tamarind extract and chopped tomatoes and required salt and cook further for ten minutes on medium flame. If required, add 1 more cup of hot water.
  • When the tamarind water and salt have infused and the tomatoes have cooked well, add the spice powder. Mix well to ensure there are no lumps. Wash the plate with 2-3 tbsp water to remove any spice residue sticking to it and pour it into the cooking mixture.
  • Lower the flame to prevent charring and mix well until all the spice is incorporated well. If required, add 1 more cup of hot water as it keeps evaporating.
  • Add jaggery or  raw sugar. Taste the mix and check for salt and spice and add whatever is required.Stir well and turn the heat off.
  • Heat remaining ghee + oil and pop mustard seeds and splutter curry leaves and pour the ghee and tempered mix into the recipe. Stir once again after 5 minutes.If using dry turkey berries, pop it along with mustard seeds.
  • Serve hot with any fried accompaniment. Appalams and Vadams always come to our help. Don't they ?  :)
  • Anyone who likes a raitha can make one they prefer.

Linking this recipe to MLLA 115 and to Susan's page (the original creator of MLLA) and to Lisa's page 



Today I am presenting an Tam Brahm Iyengar special recipe : Kadambha Saadham it is. This recipe is almost close to Sambhar Saadham  and mo...