Curd Rice

Yesterday was the festival of Aadi Perukku, a festival celebrating water. Devotees normally prepare a variety of rice dishes on this day. You will find many of these in this blog (look under “Rice”). While there are many rice recipes, I realised that I have not posted a curd rice recipe – perhaps because it is so basic that it really does not require a separate post. But, anyway, I decided to correct this lacuna – it really does not matter how simple the recipe is.
Curd rice is the ultimate comfort food for South Indians. Not meal is complete without curd rice – invariably the last course. South Indians are happy to consume a meal of only curd rice and a pickle – and still consider it a gourmet meal.
I resisted turning vegan for several years simply because I could not imagine life without curd rice. When I finally did go vegan about a decade ago, there was no ready-made curd in the market. I had a tough time learning to make curd at home. Thanks to Dr. Rupa Shah’s recipe, I did learn how to make vegan curd using peanut and rice milks. The taste was fine when used in cooking dishes with a yogurt base, but just a plain curd rice (the staple of South Indians) tasted like nothing on earth. It has taken me several years to perfect the basic curd, learn how to make it sour (as I like it), get the consistency right…
So, the recipe for curd rice

1 cup rice, cooked as you normally cook your rice (you can use red or brown rice or even “millet” rice) and cooled to room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegan yogurt (fresh or sour, as you prefer)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped or grated vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum
Some people add a little fruits such as green grapes or pomegranate seeds
To Temper
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu) – optional
1 dried red chilli, broken into two
1 sprig curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1/2 tsp ginger, minced
8-10 pieces cashew nuts, roasted (optional)
Mix the rice, vegetables and fruits (if using) and the yogurt well
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add all the other ingredients mentioned under “To Temper” except the cashew nuts
Roast for about 30 seconds and add to the rice
Garnish with roasted cashew nuts (if using)
Serve at room temperature

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