Mixed rice

In South India, there's a tradition of what we call "kalantha saadam" (literally, mixed rice). It consists of a couple of basic spices, asafoetida, ginger, and then something else to mix through the rice. Today, at the restaurant, I made a version of coconut rice. Here's how:

8 cups rice, cooked
2 1/2 TB canola oil
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
3 big pinches asafoetida
4 cm chunk of ginger, grated
2 cups toasted sunflower seeds
2 cups of coconut (either grated fresh coconut, or dried coconut, toasted in the oven for five minutes)
Salt, to taste
Chiles, to taste

In a pot, heat up the oil. Add the mustard seeds, and wait for them to crack and pop. They'll likely have at least a few end up on your stove. This is not a problem. Add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida. The house will begin to smell fragrant and lovely. This is a Very Good Thing. Add the grated ginger, and the sunflower seeds, and toast for a few seconds.

Add the coconut at the last minute, and turn off the heat. You want the coconut to cook as little as possible (especially if it's fresh). At this point, add some red chile flakes, a bit of salt, and black pepper if you like.

Toss together with the rice (gently) so that all the rice grains are evenly coated in spices. It's absolutely lovely when served piping hot, with your favourite salad on the side. Lovely!
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