Chettinad - Karaikudi / Recipes / Tamilnadu

Black Rice or Kavuni Arisi Sweet – A Chettinad delicacy

The Chettiar men were a shrewd and enterprising lot,  when it came to business and trading overseas. Well before air travel became common, they criss-crossed the country and crossed the borders for trading, including with countries like Arabia and South East Asia. Trading in Spices and precious stones was common, and the Chettiar men brought back teak from Burma, glass from Czechoslovakia and many other artifacts to adorn their houses. One of the items they brought back from their travels was the Kavuni arisi as it is known in Tamil i.e. black rice.

This super fibrous, glutinous rice is supposed to have been brought back by the Chettiar men from South East Asia . The able Chettinad women of the house, equally capable and talented, put this healthy rice to good use by creating wonders in the kitchen. Mrs. Meyyammai Murugappan teaches me how to make a sweet with the black rice. We’re also organizing a vegetarian chettinad cookery workshop by Mrs. Meyyammai Murugappan. Details here, should you wish to attend. For those who follow Tamil, please see below a video link on how to make it.


  • Kavuni arisi / black rice – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Powdered cardamom – 2 tsp
  • Grated coconut – 1 cup or lesser or more depending on taste
  • Ghee/ Clarified butter – 4 tbsp


  1. Soak the black rice in water overnight for over 8-10 hours as it takes time to cook
  2. Pressure cook the rice adding 2 cups of water for 2 whistles
  3. The rice should not be overcooked or mushy. You should still be able to see the grains
  4. Add sugar, powdered cardamom, ghee and grated coconut to the cooked rice and mix well
  5. Serve hot adding a dollop of ghee and enjoy the good, old traditional chettinad delicacy

Click to watch- Learn to make Kavuni Arisi sweet


About Author

The musings of two Chennaiites seeking to discover the world through food and travel. As they open themselves up to adventure, the accompanying puliyogare, travels well and ensures that the idea of home is never lost


  • Chaitra.N
    September 2, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Hey, This dish is yummy ! are right, it has roots in south east Asia. Its called Bibur Injin in Bali, Indonesia (hogged on it the whole time we were there !). They flavor it with pandan leaves & vanilla extract, doesn’t make it any less delicious ! 🙂

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