In India, traditionally this recipe is made with homemade curd. But one can use yoghurt too.
It is good to know that Curd is not Yogurt and Yogurt is not Curd.
Curd is made by coagulating the milk with an acidic source like lemon/vinegar/citric acid crystal, whereas Yogurt needs bacterial cultures to ferment the milk. Both are different procedures. But as stated, this recipe is easily adaptable. Hence Yogurt is an acceptable substitute for curds.
It is a balanced recipe of softly cooked rice mixed with curds and south Indian seasonings, put together to cool the body on a hot sunny day. So let's get to the recipe.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking Time-20 mins
Total Time-30 mins
Makes: 4 servings
1 cup rice or any millets
2 cups water (1 ½ cup for cooking rice + ½ cup for mashing the rice grains)
2 cups curd or beaten yoghurt
Salt as needed
1 tsp cooking oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp black mustard seeds
One whole red chilli, broken
¼ tsp urad daal/white lentils (optional)
¼ tsp chana daal/yellow split gram lentils (optional)
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
Two sprigs of curry leaves
One pinch of Hing or asafoetida (optional)
For serving/garnishing: Any refreshing summer salad vegetables -grated cucumbers, beetroots, carrots, pomegranate, grapes, bottle gourd etc.
A handful of fresh coriander leaves, coarsely chopped with pickle/papad.
DIRECTIONS: Wash rice or any millets under running water and soak them in any cooking vessel with 1 ½ cups of water to cover for 10 mins. Then add salt as per taste and cook until rice is cooked little soft and mushy.
I use a stainless steel pressure cooker and cook rice for two whistles.
When the rice has cooked, open the lid and allow the rice to cool down completely before adding curd/yoghurt to avoid the whey separating from the cold curd or yoghurt.
Then mash the grains with a fork by slowly adding the remaining ½ cup of cold water- this step brings down the temperature of the rice eventually. Then keep it aside until the tempering is ready.
Heat a wok/pan with oil, add mustard seeds and then allow the seeds to splutter. Next, stir in the cumin seeds, lentils if using, followed by the broken red chilli and fry them in the oil. Do this until the lentils turn golden, infusing their aroma into the oil.
Later, add the curry leaves and fry them until they are crispy. Finally, include the asafoetida and turn off the flame.
Now, mix the fresh ginger with the curd/yoghurt and combine it with the rice.
Pour the seasonings on top of the curd rice and bring together all the ingredients.
Serving Suggestions- Serve with grated cucumber and fresh coriander leaves.
Notes: The highlight of this recipe is two non-negotiable ingredients -mustard seeds and curry leaves.
The temperature of the rice, curd and tempering must be in sync with each other to balance the vital nutrients and make this dish gut-friendly.
Do not mix cold curd to the hot rice. Do not add hot oil to the chilled curd.
Some people prefer to add milk to the curd rice, but I have grown up in a home where these two combinations are strictly discouraged, as the curd is fermented and mixing it with milk leads to a change in digestive flora.
Also adding fruits to the curds is a wild combo in the digestive tract. Hence, I prefer adding salad vegetables.
On a hot sunny day, this recipe comes very handy and is indeed a powerhouse dish to cool your body.
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