Saakannam is one of the dishes that is made on the 7th of Navratri/ Dasara. Saakam (shaak) means vegetables and Annam means rice, so it is nothing but mixed vegetable rice. When making any dish on a festival day, we usually refrain from using onion, garlic, garam masala etc. Also using premade or store bought masalas is not preferred.
I tried looking for an authentic rice recipe that is made for festivals, but I couldn’t find anything. I asked one of my cousins and she said she makes a simple mixed vegetable rice with ginger. I went with my instincts and made this dish with what I had in the fridge.
You can use any vegetable that you have in the fridge or want to eat in this dish. I added eggplant, potato, cauliflower, carrot and green beans. But you can also use other veggies like peppers, cabbage, plantains, sweet potato, green peas etc etc. I added some coconut milk, but it completely optional, I thought coconut milk added a slight sweetness that I really liked.
- 1 cup Rice - (I used Sona Masoori rice)
- 3 Eggplant - medium round (or 1 long Japanese eggplant), chopped
- 1 Potato - medium, peeled and diced
- 1 Carrot - small, peeled and diced
- ½ cup Cauliflower florets
- ½ cup Green Beans - chopped
- 4 ~ 6 chilies Green - very finely chopped (adjust as per taste preference)
- 2 Ginger " - piece, grated
- ½ cup Coconut Milk - (optional)
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 tsp Chana Dal
- 1 tsp Urad dal
- 2 tbsp Peanuts
- 1 tbsp Cashews
- 2 ~ 3 chilies (adjust as per taste) Dry red
- 8 ~ 10 Curry Leaves
- 2 tbsps Cilantro - chopped
- to taste Salt
- Cook rice along with a pinch of turmeric, salt and few drops of oil. Once done, set aside to cool.
- Precooking the veggies makes making this dish really fast. I microwaved potatoes, green beans, carrots and cauliflower until fork tender.
- Heat 2~3tbsp oil in a big saute pan. Saute peanuts and cashews until golden, remove using a slotted spoon into a small bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal, urad dal and dry red chilies. Once the seeds start to splutter add the ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Cook for 1~2 minutes.
- Now add eggplant and turmeric. Cover and cook for 6~7 minutes. If using raw veggies add them all together, cover and cook for 10~12 minutes.
- If using precooked veggies, add them after eggplant is more than half cooked. Saute till all the veggies are cooked through.
- Add coconut milk (if using) and cook for 2~3 minutes.
- Next add the cooked rice and salt. Mix well to combine and cook for 2~3 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.