Indian Rice with Sesame and Coconut -How to make delicious South Indian Spiced Rice

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Last Updated on September 11, 2021 by Chef Mireille

This Indian Rice with Sesame and Coconut is so flavorful with the nutty tones of toasted sesame. Even on its own, it is very addictive and you can easily eat an entire bowl by itself.

I’ve always enjoyed prepping Indian dishes. Many of them have this peculiar rich taste that’s so inviting. By exploring Indian cuisine, I’ve found how humble ingredients can be elevated and turned into something you could look forward to eating each week.

Not only is it part of my heritage, but as I have explored different Indian regional cuisine, the variety and diversity of the cuisine is amazing. It is a treasure trove of recipes and flavors, especially if you are Vegetarian.

I love setting a table filled with classic Indian recipes and having friends and family over. Even something as simple as adding a few simple flavor elements to rice can be something your guests will ooh and aah over.

One bite and you will be hooked!

Sesame Rice, Coconut Rice

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This South Indian style rice is known in Southern India as Til Narial Bhat.

“Til” (Hindi) means “sesame,” while “narial” means “coconut.” And as you might have guessed, “bhat” means “rice.”

So essentially, the phrase literally means “sesame coconut rice.”

There are many variations of this recipe, but the version we’re having today will really highlight those sesame and coconut flavors.

You may be surprised at how these two simple flavors are not only delicious, but good for you too!

Health Benefits of Sesame and Coconut

The Superfood Coconut

Coconut is considered a superfood because of its rich nutritional profile. It’s a great source of fiber, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Coconut may also aid in improving digestion.

Whether you’re using coconut cream, or coconut milk, or grated coconut, or a combination of all three, you’ll enjoy the immense nutritional benefits coconut offers.

The Nutrient-Dense Sesame

Sesame isn’t too far behind and won’t hand the crown too easily onto coconut. For one, sesame seeds are packed with fiber and protein.

When hulled and roasted, sesame seeds give you a significant portion of your protein needs. The hulling and roasting process also makes the protein more digestible.

Moreover, sesame seeds are rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, zinc, and magnesium.

Meanwhile, sesame oil is full of antioxidants and is rich in omega fatty acids.

Before we get to today’s delicious recipe, here are some other rice recipes you may like to try!

Rice Recipes

Now before we get to the ingredients you need, I need to tell you about the sesame oil used here.

Kinds of Sesame Oil

Here in America, when we say sesame oil we all think of the East Asian sesame oil which is dark in color and quite robust in flavor. But this sesame oil is different…

East Asian sesame oil is made from toasted sesame seeds, while this South Asian sesame oil is made from raw sesame seeds.

You will need to visit an Indian supermarket or order this oil from online sources. Indian supermarkets is the only place I have ever seen this golden colored sesame oil…unless you have a really extensive gourmet supermarket with a large international section that may carry it.

Much lighter in flavor, this sesame oil will not overpower the gentle flavor of toasted sesame seeds and coconut.

Ingredients for Indian Rice with Sesame & Coconut

  • basmati rice
  • coconut milk
  • grated ginger
  • light sesame oil
  • brown mustard seeds
  • dried red chillies
  • sesame seeds
  • salt
  • grated coconut

How to make Sesame Coconut Rice

  • Cook the rice.
  • Roast the mustard seeds, chiles, and sesame seeds.
  • Mix in the cooked rice and coconut.
Each step to making this Indian recipe is quite exciting!

Make sure to toss until rice is well-coated so that every bite is filled with goodness.

Sesame Rice, Indian Coconut Rice
Once you smell this coconut sesame rice, you can’t wait but dig in! You might even finish the whole plate.


  • If you can’t find basmati rice, you can replace it with any long-grain white rice. One of your best options is jasmine rice. Another option is still basmati rice, but the brown one, which is richer in fiber.
  • Coconut milk is quite a staple in Indian cuisine. But if you don’t have it or you’re not a fan of it (and you’re just here for the sesame), that’s alright. You can try almond milk or cashew milk. Just choose the unsweetened variant.
  • Add some more flavor and fragrance to your rice by using spices such as cardamom pods, cloves, and bay leaf while you’re cooking the rice.

How to Freeze Coconut Rice

I don’t think you’re going to have leftovers, but just in case you’re making a big batch, you can freeze your coconut sesame rice. As always, the first step is to let it cool.

Then, transfer the flavored rice into a glass container or in a silicone freezer bag. You can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

How to Reheat

You can simply transfer the rice to a microwave-safe container and heat it as usual.

Storing Indian Rice in the Fridge

You have the other option of keeping your sesame rice in the fridge instead. Note though that it will last for only 5 days.

What can you pair with this Spiced Indian Rice?

Honestly, you can eat this flavored rice by itself. It doesn’t need any more add-on or sides, but if you want a complete Indian meal you can pair it with Tindora Palya and Kalonji Dal for a complete Indian Vegan Meal!

Other Vegan Indian Recipes to Try

I got two more Indian dishes for you to consider cooking this week, and they’re both vegan recipes. One is called the Broken Wheat Upma, which is better known as Indian polenta. It’s easy to make for a savory breakfast!

The other one is Gobi Pakora. It’s actually cauliflower fritters, and it’s also gluten-free! It’s one of those Indian dishes that made me fall in love with cauliflower, which I used to not like before. Try it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

In the meantime, enjoy this full and printable recipe for sesame coconut rice!

sesame coconut rice served on a plate
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Indian Rice with Sesame and Coconut – Til Narial Bhat

This Sesame Coconut Rice is a classic South Indian dish that you can easily add to your lunches. You'll love the added nuttiness from the toasted sesame! It is super flavorful and vegan too.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Rice
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 7 people
Author: Chef Mireille


  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 4 tablespoons light Sesame oil this is a golden-colored sesame oil available at Indian supermarkets
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 8 dried red chiles
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup frozen grated coconut defrosted (or freshly grated coconut)


  • Soak rice for 1/2 hour.
  • Bring 1 1/2 cups water, coconut milk, and ginger to a boil.
  • Add rice and bring to a boil again.
  • Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, until rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large pot.
  • Add mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add chiles. After 1 minute, add sesame seeds.
  • When the sesame seeds turn golden brown, add coconut, salt, and rice.
Did you try this recipe? Leave a comment below.Please follow me on Instagram @chefmireille or tag me #chefmireille with your pics! I’d love to share them!

Need more culinary inspiration? Check out the Recipe Index with over 1500 Recipes from Around the World with lots of Vegetarian 🥕🍆🍅and Gluten Free Recipes!

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  1. Ah this is the rice we were talking about…sounds so different as it uses both milk and grating…I remember once making with sesame seeds, and liked it..such a flavoursome rice..

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