Food & Health

Kadamba Saadam – My Mother-in-law’s Signature dish


Amma (my mother-in-law) was a great cook – if there ever was a Masterchef competition for only South Indian vegetarian food when she was alive, she would have won it easily. She could make the same vegetable every single day of the week and each day it would taste different. There are several relatives of ours who would demand certain signatures dishes of hers every time they visited. I was taught how to cook by my mother-in-law. She taught me to cook quickly so that I could continue being a working woman. As I keep saying, the corporate world lost a great leader in Amma.

One of Amma’s signature dish was Kadamba Saadam – not exactly Sambar rice but slightly different. I never learnt making it because I don’t like it much. The reality is, I don’t like Dal Sambar at all, I only like the non-dal sambar’s (vatha kozhambu for the Tamilians). For the last couple of months though, I have been suddenly interested in making Kadamba Saadam. I searched the internet for the recipe and found one that seemed close enough to what Amma would make.

My first attempt at making Kadamba Saadam was when Karan came home for lunch in November. It ended up being a disaster because I tried making it like the OPOS Bisi Bele Baath but the quantity of rice was too much. A lot of the rice got stuck to the bottom and we ended up eating “smoked” Kadamba Saadam. The taste was good, but the slight char didn’t work for me.

The second time I tried making it in the more traditional route, by making the rice separately, the sambar separately, the daal separately and mixing everything together. Rajesh, Nirupama and Kaavya loved it and Krishnan said it tasted just like Amma’s Kadamba Saadam.

Just to re-inforce my learning, I made it again yesterday and got it spot on.

The recipe I followed is as follows –

Rice cooked separately.

For the Sambar – I put traditional veggies like Poosanikai (kaddu/pumpkin), Drumstick, Avarekkai (broad beans), Carrot and Potato. I OPOSed the Sambar. 2 TBSP of Sambar powder, 2 TBSP of roasted coriander seeds powdered, 2 TBSP of grated Copra, Salt to taste, Turmeric, Asafoetida, Curry leaves, Tamarind water.

Before mixing the rice with the Sambar, I diluted it a bit and added 1/4 C of OPOSed Cooking Dal (Arhar). I mixed in 1.5 Cups of cooked rice and seasoned with Sundakkai vathal and red chillies roasted in Ghee.

The Kadamba Saadam tastes great with Appalam/Mixture/Vadaam or you could eat it as it is. This is another complete meal that hits all the nutritional requirements. The more I make traditional Indian food, the more I realise how our food is fresh and medicinal. A big thank you to OPOS, because it helped me re-connect with our traditional food and also taught me to cook it in a more healthier manner.

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