Ellu Sadam | Sesame Rice

Step by StepJump to Recipe

Since, rice is a staple for the entire of South India, there are many dishes that are made using this grain. Here’s one of those many rice-based dishes that South India is known for, the Sesame Rice. Also known as Ellu Sadam in Tamil Nadu, this is a vegan, easy and delicious preparation of rice and ground sesame seeds. This special rice cooked with sesame is also considered as holy when offered as a prasadam in temples of Lord Shiva and Shani.

ellu sadam served on a white plate with a small bowl of mixed vegetables and text layovers.

About Ellu Sadam

In Tamil language, sesame seeds is ‘ellu or yellu’ and rice is ‘sadam.’ Hence, the typical Tamil Nadu special Sesame Rice is also called the Ellu Sadam. More or less every South Indian household has a similar recipe to make this dish. There might just be a few variations, here and there.

My recipe of Sesame Rice is inspired by the method from Samaithu Paar by Meenakshi Ammal. This cookbook is one of the best reference points for Tam-Brahm (Tamil-Brahmin) cooking.

The set of 3 volumes was gifted to me by one of my dearest readers. This is one of those presents that is close to my heart and will always be cherished by me.  

On the whole, making Ellu Sadam is quite a hassle-free task and it gets done easily. Here, I have mentioned the method of cooking the rice. A pan/pot or a pressure cooker can also be used to cook the rice. You need to proceed with it, just the way you cook by adding the required quantity of water.

About This Recipe

I have used the pounded sona masuri variety of rice. You can use any variety white or even brown rice for making this Sesame Rice. I always prefer to use the unpolished white sesame seeds for this, but you can use either of the polished white or black sesame seeds as well.

Also, it is best to cook the Ellu Sadam in sesame oil as it is done traditionally this way itself. However, if you like the taste of ghee in your rice dishes, use that as the medium of fat for cooking this dish as well.

If you want to add green chilies and make it a spicy rice, you can do that too. In that case, make sure to use a less spicy dried red chili for the ellu podi.

You can also add some peanuts and/or coconut for an added layer of texture and flavor in this rice dish. Best had as a main course or a side dish. Can even be packed in your tiffin box as lunch.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Ellu Sadam

Cooking rice

1. Rinse 1 cup rice a couple of times in water and then soak in enough water for 20 minutes.

soaking rice in water.

2. Later, drain all the water and add the rice in a pressure cooker. Also, add ½ teaspoon salt or add as required.

drained rice and salt added to a pressure cooker.

3. Add 1.75 to 2 cups water or add as required for regular white rice. If using hand pounded rice, then add 2.25 to 2.5 cups water. If using brown rice, then add 3 cups water. For brown rice, soak for 30 minutes.

water added to the pressure cooker.

4. For white rice, pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium heat. For hand pounded rice, pressure cook for 7 to 8 whistles and for brown rice pressure cook for 10 to 12 whistles on medium heat.

pressure cooking rice.

5. When the pressure settles down naturally, remove the lid.

pressure cooked rice.

6. Take the rice in a large bowl or plate and let the rice grains cool down completely.

cooked rice placed on a plate and kept for cooling.

Making ellu podi

7. Heat a small pan. Keep the flame to a low. Add 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds. You can also use black sesame seeds or half-half of both white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds.

white sesame seeds added to a pan on heat.

8. Begin to roast sesame seeds on low heat, stirring non-stop.

stirring and roasting sesame seeds.

9. Roast sesame seeds till they pop and change color. When they are roasted well, remove them in a plate and keep aside. Let the sesame seeds cool.

roasting sesame seeds.

10. In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black gram).

urad dal added to the pan after removing roasted sesame seeds.

11. On low heat, begin to roast urad dal, stirring often.

roasting urad dal.

12. Roast urad dal till light golden.

roasting urad dal till light golden.

13. Then, add 2 dried red chilies (broken and seeds removed). You can use byadagi or Kashmiri red chilies.

dried red chilies added to the urad dal.

14. Stirring often, roast red chilies till they change color. This takes some seconds and by this time the urad dal will also turn golden and aromatic. Make sure not to burn both urad dal or red chilies. If you want, you can roast both urad dal and red chilies separately. Let them cool.

roasting dried red chilies with urad dal.

15. In a dry grinder jar or coffee grinder, add the roasted urad dal and red chilies. Also, add a pinch of asafoetida.

roasted dried red chilies, urad dal and asafoetida added to a grinder jar.

16. Grind to a semi-fine or fine powder.

ingredients ground to a semi-fine powder.

17. Add the roasted sesame seeds.

roasted sesame seeds added to the ground powder.

18. Using the pulse option for some seconds, grind the sesame seeds to a fine powder. You can also grind to a semi-fine powder. Make sure not to grind at a stretch. No oil should release from the ground sesame seed powder.

roasted sesame seeds ground to a semi fine powder.

Preparing Ellu Sadam

19. Add the sesame seed powder to the cooked rice.

sesame seed powder added to the cooked rice.

20. Mix well. If there are any lumps in the rice, then break with a spoon or spatula.

ground sesame seed powder mixed well with the cooked rice.

21. Check the taste and if required, add some more salt at this step. Mix well again. If using sea salt crystals, then grind the salt crystals with sesame seeds.

adding salt to the rice mixture.

Making tempering

22. Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil (gingelly oil). Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds. If you do not have sesame oil, then you can use sunflower oil or peanut oil.

mustard seeds added to hot sesame oil in a small pan.

23. Let the mustard seeds crackle.

mustard seeds crackling in the hot sesame oil.

24. When the mustard seeds crackle, add 8 to 10 curry leaves.

curry leaves added to the oil.

25. Switch off the heat and stir.

stirring the curry leaves in the oil.

26. Add the tempering with the oil in the rice mixture.

tempering added to the rice mixture.

27. Mix again.

tempering mixed well with the rice mixture.

28. Serve Ellu Sadam as a main course or side dish. You can accompany a South Indian side vegetable dish or even homemade curd with it.

ellu sadam served on a white plate with a small bowl of mixed vegetables and text layovers.

Expert Tips

  1. For regular white rice, add 1.75 to 2 cups; for hand pounded rice, add 2.25 to 2.5 cups water and for brown rice, add 3 cups water. If using brown rice, soak for 30 minutes.
  2. For white rice, pressure cook for 2 whistles; for hand pounded rice, pressure cook for 7 to 8 whistles and for brown rice, pressure cook for 10 to 12 whistles. All on medium heat.
  3. You can use white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds or half-half of both.
  4. For the sesame seed powder or ellu podi, use dried red chilies of a less hot or pungent variety.
  5. For a spicier rice, add 3 byadagi or Kashmiri dried red chilies in the ellu podi or even some green chilies in the tempering.
  6. If you want the flavor of sesame seeds to be more prominent and dominant, add 4 tablespoons instead of 3 tablespoons.
  7. You can add peanuts too in this recipe.
  8. Easily make it for lesser or more people, by making the recipe halve, double or triple.

More Rice Recipes To Try!

Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

sesame rice recipe, ellu sadam recipe, til rice recipe

Ellu Sadam

Sesame rice is an easy and delicious rice recipe made with ground sesame seeds. It is also known as ellu sadam in tamil language where ellu means sesame seeds and sadam means rice. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Cuisine South Indian, Tamil Nadu
Course Main Course
Servings 3
Units

Ingredients

for cooking rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1.75 to 2 cups water or add as required
  • ½ teaspoon salt or add as required

for ellu podi (sesame seeds powder)

  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black gram)
  • 2 dry red chilies – broken and seeds removed (can use byadagi or kashmiri red chilies)
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)

for tempering ellu sadam

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (gingelly oil)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 8 to 10 curry leaves

other ingredient

  • salt as required, to be added later

Instructions
 

cooking rice

  • Rinse 1 cup rice couple of times in water and then soak in enough water for 20 minutes.
  • Later drain all the water and add the rice in a pressure cooker. Also add ½ teaspoon salt or add as required.
  • Add 1.75 to 2 cups water or add as required for regular white rice. If using hand pounded rice then add 2.25 to 2.5 cups water. If using brown rice, then add 3 cups water. For brown rice soak for about 30 minutes.
  • For white rice, pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium flame. For hand pounded rice, pressure cook for 7 to 8 whistles and for brown rice pressure cook for 10 to 12 whistles on medium flame.
  • When the pressure settles down on its own, remove the lid.
  • Take the rice in a large bowl or plate and let the rice grains cool down completely.

making ellu podi

  • Heat a small pan. Keep the flame to a low. Add 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds. You can also use black sesame seeds or half-half of both white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds.
  • Begin to roast sesame seeds on a low flame stirring non-stop.
  • Roast sesame seeds till they pop and change color. When they have toasted well, remove them in a plate and keep aside. Let the sesame seeds cool.
  • In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon urad dal (husked and split black gram).
  • On a low flame stirring often, begin to roast urad dal.
  • Roast urad dal till they become light golden.
  • Then add 2 dry red chilies (broken and seeds removed). You can use byadagi or kashmiri red chilies.
  • Stirring often roast red chilies till they change color. This takes some seconds and by this time the urad dal will also turn golden and aromatic. 
  • Do make sure not to burn both urad dal or red chilies. If you want you can roast both urad dal and red chilies separately. Let them cool.
  • In a dry grinder jar or coffee grinder add the roasted urad dal and red chilies. also add a pinch of asafoetida. 
  • Grind to a semi fine or fine powder.
  • Then add the roasted sesame seeds. using the pulse option for some seconds, grind the sesame seeds to a fine powder. You can also grind to a semi-fine powder. Do make sure not to grind at a stretch. No oil should release from the ground sesame seeds powder.
  • Add the sesame seeds powder to the cooked rice.
  • Mix well. If there are any lumps in the rice, then break with spoon or spatula.
  • Check the taste and if required, you can add some more salt at this step. Mix well again. If using sea salt crystals, then grind the salt crystals with sesame seeds.

making tempering for ellu sadam

  • Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil (gingelly oil). Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds. If you do not have sesame oil, then you can use sunflower oil or peanut oil.
  • Let the mustard seeds crackle.
  • When the mustard seeds crackle, then add 8 to 10 curry leaves. switch off the flame and stir.
  • Add all the tempered ingredients in the rice mixture. mix again.
  • Serve ellu sadam as a main course or as a side dish.

Notes

  • Recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled.
  • Use red chilies which are not very hot or pungent. 
  • For spicy sesame rice, you can add 3 byadagi or kashmiri red chilies.
  • For more flavor of sesame seeds, you can add 4 tablespoons.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Ellu Sadam
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 394mg17%
Potassium 204mg6%
Carbohydrates 55g18%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 385IU8%
Vitamin C 96.4mg117%
Calcium 111mg11%
Iron 2.2mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like what you see?

Stay up to date with new recipes and ideas.

This Ellu Sadam recipe from the archives was first published in January 2018. It has been updated and republished in February 2024.

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

Get My Secrets to Great Indian Food
Sign up for my FREE Beginners Guide to Delicious Indian Cooking

Comments are closed.

2 Comments

  1. U make very delicious food … I want to try your every recipe…. is there any way where I can access all your recipes you have written from day 1…. I like your earlier site where I can see your post daywise

    1. Thanks Shruti. All the recipes are shared on this website only. You can search recipes also as search option is there in the website.