Festival Recipes

Yellina Chitranna from Karnataka | Sesame flavoured rice – GF and Vegan

Yellina Chitranna or sesame (in Kannada , Yellu means til/ sesame) flavoured tangy rice is something I have been wanting to post for a long time. As we grew up in Bangalore, both nimbe gojju Chitranna (citron pickle flavoured rice) and kai sasive Chitranna (coconut (mustard paste flavoured rice) were standard fare at weddings / religious functions. 

I personally loved today’s dish – Yellina Chitranna – as my neighbour used to send a large portion over either for Sankranti (when using TIL / Ellu is considered suspicious) or Ugadi (Kannada new year) and we simply exchanged it for a bowl of puliogarai made at our house. Things were much simpler then, no fuss and we kids played and ate endlessly at our neighbours’ before play dates and sleepovers became fashionable. 

I have tried to recreate the flavours as I remember them and had some help from Amma too. This was part of a Karnataka mini Thali (yes, strike three for April 2020 :p) and we enjoyed the whole platter. 

We are almost at the finale of the A-z grains marathon and this is for alphabet Y. Hope you enjoyed the marathon so far. 


Similar rice-based satvik, GF dishes (made for festivals) in South India are:

Prep time – 15 Mins , cook time – 15 Mins ; serves – 4 adults 


Short grained rice – 1 cup

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp 

Oil – 4 tbsp 

Peanuts – 1/4 cup

Salt to taste

Tempering – mustard seeds 1 tsp , curry leaves – few

Lemon juice – juice of 1/2 lemon (large) or 1 medium sized

Masala paste (to grind):

Fresh coconut – 1/4 cup 

*Roasted* Yellu/sesame seeds – 3 tsp

Green chillies – 2-3 (blister it in a hot pan for 15/20 seconds till it turns white)




The flavours take about 30-45 mins to seep in so, you can make this ahead of your meal preps. Keeps upto 3 days under refrigeration. 

How to :

Wash and cook rice as per your preferred method. Fluff in a large plate. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil + turmeric and spread till cooled throughly. I Cook the rice the previous late night and simply let it stand on the kitchen counter, covered (unless it’s too humid!)

Grind all ingredients of the masala to a smooth paste without adding too much water. 

In a pan, add remaining oil, fry the peanuts and take them out with a slotted spoon once browned and crisp. In the same oil, splutter all tempering ingredients. Add the masala paste , fry till all moisture disappears and you get a thick paste that oozes oil (takes 4-5 mins on low flame). 

Switch off the stove , add the cooked rice , salt, chopped coriander and lemon juice . Mix well with a wooden spoon. 

Adjust salt and spice. Top with roasted peanuts and serve warm. 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99

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  1. Suma Gandlur

    The rice looks real festive and I am feeling envious right now that you are onto thaalis now. 🙂 Now I am wondering what nimbe gojjina chitranna is.

  2. Thanks Suma ! I am hoping that the euphoria and enthusiasm will last till every post is scheduled for next april mega bm 🙂 Will ping you the recipe of Nimbe Gojju Chitranna shortly !

  3. vaishali sabnani

    Sesame is the star ingredient of the day and I am definitely trying this rice soon . The sesame flavored rice must have been a total treat .

  4. Sesame really gives a nice taste and flavor to the dish. Yellina chitranna looks delicious.

  5. Harini R

    Love sesame seeds in rice dishes. The use of coconut is special. Looks very festive.

  6. Gayathri Kumar

    This looks fantastic Kalyani. The spice paste with sesame and coonut would add so much flavour to the rice. You already made three thalis? Wow!

  7. Srivalli

    I guess this one got so many of our attention this time, yours has turned out great Kalyani..

  8. Srividhya

    Yellu seems to be the star of the day. I need to try this rice soon. Good one Kalyani.

  9. cookwithrenu

    True the flavours have to infuse and it will taste the best only then. delicious looking rice

  10. Never used sesame in rice. this sounds quite flavorful.. Sesame and rice must have added a nice nutty taste to it.

  11. preeti garg

    Addition of sesame gives nutty texture to any dish… looks so yummy.

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