You are going to laugh or cast me in the weirdo box when you hear about this rice. But the ones who already know all about this rice are probably going to ask me if this recipe even deserved a post. Well, every yummy dish deserves a blogpost and the yum quotient on this one probably tops mac and cheese in my book. So without further ado, I present to you curd rice. You could call it yogurt rice because that is exactly what it is.
It is the ultimate comfort food for us South Indians. I should probably narrow it down to the Tam-Brahms (Tamil-which is our language-Brahmin-the, erm, cast) because I have many a curd rice hating friend and they would disown me if I generalize. Every South Indian meal is incomplete without this dish. It tastes different in different regions and we add a varied list of condiments to make this otherwise bland dish more tasty. We love it cold in the summer, a little warm in the winter and absolutely hot and fragrant at weddings.
Talking about curd rice reminds me of a very funny (albeit a little embarrassing) story K once told me. This happened during his grad school days. Though he used to avoid taking Indian food to class, he couldn’t help but take curd rice once to school. So during lunch, he opens his box and starts eating. His American friend sitting next to him sniffs loudly and looks into K’s box. “Dude, what is that thing you are eating?” K very slowly says “Yogurt rice?” The disbelieving guy is like “What’s that again?” The even more embarrassed husband goes “Yogurt and rice?” His friend gives him a horrified look and goes back to his lunch. That was probably the last day K packed curd rice to school!
What I am trying to tell you here is try it. It might sound very weird but you might just end up liking it. And as I said, this dish has so many different ways of preparation. I follow my mother’s method and it has never failed me. This is how I make it…
Warm and Tasty Curd Rice
Two cups freshly cooked rice
One cup yogurt/curd
One cup milk
Half cup water
Two tsp oil
Two Thai chili peppers
One tsp mustard seeds
One tsp Urad Dal (optional)
One tsp Channa Dal (optional)
A sprinkle asafoetida
One tsp salt
Cilantro leaves for garnish
Mix the rice, yogurt, milk and water. Add the salt. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chili, mustard seeds, Dals and asafoetida. When the mustard seeds pop and the Dals turn golden-brown, take off the heat and mix with rice. The final product has to be a loose, creamy bowl of curd rice. If it is a little tight, add more milk or curd. Even better is a quarter cup of cream but I try to avoid that!
Ps: the black chilis are a South Indian condiment we make by mixing chilis with yogurt and drying them in the hot sun over a period of weeks. And then we fry them with the mustard and other condiments while making the rice. I haven’t mentioned it in the recipe because it is virtually impossible to get it in USA. But if you are an adventurous soul, let me know. I will send it over!
I eat it with any curry or jarred spicy pickle but honestly, you really don’t need anything to accompany curd rice. It is a rockstar all by itself!