• July 17, 2022

Brinji Rice | Brinji Sadam

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Call it Brinji Rice, Brinji Sadam or just Brinji, it doesn’t change the fact that this delicacy from the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu is going to be the most flavorful and easy way you can have a satisfying one-pot vegan meal. Dunk rice, an earthy ground green masala paste, some veggies, whole spices and coconut milk in a pot, and wait till it simmers into this beautiful filling dish. You literally won’t need anything else to go with it as it is so delicious by itself.

brinji rice served in a white bowl with a spoon, a small bowl of raita kept on the top left side and text layovers.

About Brinji Rice

The Brinji Rice is named so, as the recipe uses tej patta, which is called as ‘brinji elai’ in Tamil or you can even call it as brinji leaf. Another reason can be that the dish is believed to have its roots in Persian cuisine, and ‘rice’ is called as ‘berenj’ that side of the world.

This one pot vegetable Brinji Rice is just the answer you’ve been looking for on days when you really don’t want to spend hours and hours in the kitchen, yet have something tasty in your meals.

Also, you can’t miss out on the nutrition factor with this dish as it has so many veggies, coconut milk and spices which are wholesome to your health.

The Brinji Sadam is a lovely rice-based dish packed with flavors and textures from the spices, herbs, coconut milk and other ingredients. One bowl of this rice, and you’ll experience the power that it has to comfort your palate and soul, quite instantly!

More on my recipe

In my recipe of the Brinji Rice, I have used basmati rice. But you can even use the seeraga samba variety of rice which is also a preferred type in Tamil Nadu. With the vegetables, add whatever your heart desires for. As it is always the more, the merrier. You can even make it without adding any veggies.

For the liquids, I always add coconut milk to the rice. Coconut milk gives a richness to the dish. But if you do not have it on hand, use water or vegetable stock instead.

To get in some variation, you can opt to add fried cashews, raisins, onions or even croutons (fried bread cubes) as a garnish in the end. This also makes it a richer version. Though, I like my Brinji Rice as simple as it could be. So, I don’t really go experimenting with it.

The best way to cook this Brinji Sadam quickly is to use a pressure cooker or instant pot. Using that, you may really have a meal ready within minutes.

However, if you have time in hand, go for a heavy pan or pot to cook this rice. Using these will definitely let the flavors amalgamate in a better way.

Since this rice dish is complete by itself, it is not mandatory to pair it with some accompaniment. But still if you wish to, you can serve it hot with a boondi raita, onion raita or cucumber raita.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Brinji Rice

Prep Rice

1. Rinse 1.5 cups basmati rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then, soak it in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes.

I have used basmati rice but you could opt to use any shorter or medium grained fragrant variety of non-sticky rice.

If you have seeraga samba rice, do use it to make the brinji rice recipe. But remember to add water as needed while cooking.

soaking rice in water.

2. After 20 to 30 minutes, drain all the water and set the rice aside.

drained rice.

Make Green Masala Paste

3. Meanwhile, in a small grinder jar, take the below listed ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
  • 2 to 3 chopped green chilies or 1 to 2 teaspoons, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh coconut – swap with desiccated coconut or frozen coconut, if out of fresh coconut.
chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint leaves, chopped green chilies, chopped ginger, chopped garlic and grated fresh coconut added to a grinder jar.

4. Add 1 inch cinnamon, 2 cloves, 2 green cardamoms and ½ teaspoon fennel seeds.

whole spices added to the grinder jar.

5. Add 4 to 5 tablespoons water and grind to a smooth and fine masala paste.

ingredients ground to a smooth masala paste with some water.

Sauté Spices and Veggies

6. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 3 liter pressure cooker. You can also use ghee instead of oil. Add 1 large tej patta or 2 to 3 small tej patta.

bay leaves added to hot oil in pressure cooker.

7. Immediately, add 1 inch cinnamon, 2 cloves and 1 green cardamom.

cinnamon, cloves and green cardamom added to the hot oil.

8. Fry spices for a few seconds or till they become fragrant.

frying spices in hot oil.

9. Then, add ½ cup sliced onions.

sliced onions added to the spices.

10. Mix and begin to sauté onions on medium-low heat.

sautéing onions with spices.

11. Sauté onions till they turn translucent or light brown.

sautéing onions with spices.

12. Then, add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes.

chopped tomatoes added to the onion mixture.

13. Mix well and begin to sauté tomatoes on medium-low heat.

sautéing tomatoes with onions.

14. Sauté tomatoes till they soften.

sautéing tomatoes with onions.

15. Now, add the prepared masala paste.

prepared masala paste added to the onion-tomato mixture.

16. Mix very well and begin to sauté masala on low heat.

sautéing masala paste with the onion-tomato mixture.

17. Sauté stirring often till you see oil releasing from the sides of the masala.

sautéing masala paste with the onion-tomato mixture till oil releases from the sides of the pan.

18. Then, add the veggies listed below:

  • ½ to ¾ cup chopped cauliflower florets
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ½ chopped potatoes
  • ⅓ cup chopped capsicum (green bell pepper)
  • ⅓ cup green peas
  • ¼ cup chopped french beans
vegetables added to the pressure cooker.

19. Mix very well and sauté for a minute.

vegetables mixed with the masala mixture.

Make Brinji Rice

20. Add the soaked rice.

drained rice added to the vegetable mixture.

21. Gently mix rice grains with the vegetables.

rice mixed with the vegetables.

22. Now, add 2 cups coconut milk. I have used homemade coconut milk here.

adding coconut milk to the rice-vegetable mixture.

23. Add ½ cup water. If you use very thick coconut milk like the packaged or canned ones, then add ¾ cup water.

water added to the rice-vegetable-coconut milk mixture.

24. Season with salt as required.

adding salt to the pressure cooker.

25. Stir and mix well. Check the taste of water and it should be slightly salty. If not, then add some more salt.

salt mixed well.

26. Pressure cook on medium heat for 8 minutes or 1 to 2 whistles.

pressure cooking the rice.

27. When the pressure settles down naturally, open the lid of the cooker.

cooked brinji rice.

28. Gently fluff the rice and mix so that the top coconut milk layer gets mixed evenly with the bottom rice layer. Mix gently and do not overdo mixing.

mixing the rice with the coconut milk layer gently.

29. Serve vegetable Brinji Rice with any raita variety like Cucumber raita, Onion Raita or Boondi Raita.

While serving, you can garnish Brinji Sadam with a few mint leaves or coriander leaves. Some fried cashews, fried raisins or fried bread cubes can also be added as a garnish.

brinji rice served in a white bowl with a spoon kept on the top right side, a small bowl of raita kept on the top left side and text layovers.

Expert Tips

  1. While making the green masala paste, use can use desiccated coconut as an alternative to fresh coconut. Also, the coconut milk is the base of this dish and is what enhances the flavors. You can’t really skip on that.
  2. I suggest using homemade coconut milk for a better result. The quantity of the water also will depend in whether you are using homemade coconut milk or a thick packaged one. If using the latter one, increase the water quantity.
  3. When the rice is cooked, fluff it gently so that it evenly mixes with the coconut milk layer. Make sure to mix gently and not overmix the rice.
  4. My choice of vegetables are cauliflower, capsicum, potato, carrot, green peas and french beans. You can have your preferred list too. Alternatively, you can even make a plain Brinji Sadam without any veggies in it.
  5. If you don’t have green chilies, use red chili powder instead. However, doing so might alter the color of the final dish.
  6. A substitute for chopped ginger and garlic is ginger-garlic paste. Cook the rice in ghee or oil, your choice.
  7. Garnish options include fried raisins, fried cashews, fried onions or fried bread cubes. Some fresh mint or coriander is also good in this rice.

More South Indian Rice Varieties

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brinji rice served in a white plate.

Brinji Rice Recipe | Brinji Sadam

Brinji Rice also called Brinji Sadam is a delicious one pot dish made with spices, herbs, coconut milk, rice and mix veggies. A special rice dish from the state of Tamil Nadu.

5 from 5 votes

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 30 mins

For soaking rice

For green masala paste

Other ingredients

For soaking rice

  • Rinse basmati rice very well in water till the water runs clear of starch. Then soak rice in enough water for 20 to 30 minutes.

  • After 20 to 30 minutes, drain all the water and keep aside.

Preparation

  • In a small grinder jar take chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint leaves, green chilies, chopped ginger, chopped garlic and grated coconut. 

  • Add 1 inch cinnamon, 2 cloves, 2 green cardamoms and ½ teaspoon fennel seeds.

  • Add 4 to 5 tablespoons water and grind to a fine and smooth green masala paste. Set aside. 

Making brinji rice

  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 3 litre pressure cooker. You can also use ghee instead of oil.

  • First add tej patta. Immediately add 1 inch cinnamon, 2 cloves and 1 green cardamom.

  • Fry spices for a few seconds till they become aromatic.

  • Then add ½ cup sliced onions. Stir and mix. 

  • Stirring often, sauté onions till they turn translucent or light brown on medium-low to medium heat.

  • Then add ⅓ cup chopped tomatoes. Mix well and begin to sauté tomatoes on medium-low heat till they soften.

  • Now add the ground green masala paste. Mix again and begin to sauté masala on a low heat till you see oil releasing from the sides of the masala paste. 

  • Then add all of the chopped veggies. Mix very well and sauté veggies for a minute on low to medium-low heat.

  • Then add the rice. Gently mix rice grains with the veggies.

  • Now add 2 cups of coconut milk. 

  • Add ½ cup of water. If you use very thick coconut milk, then add ¾ cup water.

  • Season with salt as required. stir and mix well. Check the taste of water and it should be slightly salty. If not, then add some more salt.

  • Pressure cook on medium heat for 8 minutes or 1 to 2 whistles. When pressure drops down on its own, open the lid of the cooker.

  • Gently fluff the rice and mix so that the top coconut milk layer gets mixed evenly with the bottom rice layer. Mix gently and do not over do.

  • Serve veg Brinji Rice with any raita of your choice.

  • Swap basmati rice with seeraga samba rice or your preferred fragrant rice. Add water as needed when using these rice variants.
  • Feel free to include veggies that you like or you could opt to make the recipe without any vegetables. 
  • For the green masala paste, if you do not have fresh coconut, then omit adding it. 
  • For the cauliflower, blanch it in hot salted water for 5 minutes if it has worms or insects. Drain the water and rinse cauliflower again.
  • Instead of coconut milk, you can cook the rice grains in water or vegetable stock.

Nutrition Facts

Brinji Rice Recipe | Brinji Sadam

Amount Per Serving

Calories 657 Calories from Fat 324

% Daily Value*

Fat 36g55%

Saturated Fat 23g144%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 10g

Sodium 265mg12%

Potassium 739mg21%

Carbohydrates 77g26%

Fiber 6g25%

Sugar 5g6%

Protein 10g20%

Vitamin A 3147IU63%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.2mg13%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.1mg6%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 3mg15%

Vitamin B6 0.4mg20%

Vitamin C 38mg46%

Vitamin E 5mg33%

Vitamin K 15µg14%

Calcium 99mg10%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 58µg15%

Iron 6mg33%

Magnesium 102mg26%

Phosphorus 259mg26%

Zinc 2mg13%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Brinji Rice recipe post from the archives first published in December 2017 has been republished and updated on 17 July 2022.


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