yogurt rice

I was first introduced to yogurt rice (pictured below, bottom right) at one of our regular mid-afternoon lunches at Mukund’s family’s home and immediately fell in love.  This dish combines some of my favorite newly-discovered Indian ingredients like plain curd (yogurt), fresh bright green curry leaves and nutty dots of black mustard seed.  It’s a tangy and refreshing take on rice for summer, subtlety flavored, very healthy and satisfying all at once.  In fact, as I think I’ve already noted, what I was served in the house was remarkably lighter, less oily and saucy, than what I encountered eating out.

I first was first introduced to yogurt rice (bottom right bowl) at a mid-afternoon lunch at Mukund's house in Cal and immediately fell in love.

This vegetarian spread is a typical meal at a home, with little tastes of many different and complementary flavors. Dishes and breads/rices would vary on a daily basis. It was a rare occasion that I would be offered a particular dish more than once (except where seconds are concerned, which came in droves!) Top row, clockwise from left: roasted sweet peppers and tomatoes, nutty gram (urad bean/black lentil/dal) stew, sweet and tangy kidney beans with tamarind; bottom row, clockwise from left: smoked fresh capers with chili and lime, courgettes (baby zucchini) with cumin seeds and garam masala, gram flour "gnocchi" in curry and curd sauce, roasted peeled potatoes with spices and lastly, traditional dal. And yes, that's chocolate mouse cake, too. It was Mrs. Khaitan's birthday, so we had her cake and ate it, too.

I’m looking forward to scouting out any local Indian groceries in Miami where some of the more specialized ingredients can be purchased in person, rather than resorting to online foodstuffs retailers like Amazon or Indian Foods Co. (where the recipe below, with a few clarifications incorporated from moi, was sourced.)  Especially once my “imported” masala mixes from the Calcutta New Market run out!   Stay tuned.  And, oh yeah, I’m back in town… 

Yogurt Rice (Rice mixed with yogurt)
Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings.
1 c. basmati rice cooked
2 1/2 c. water
1 c. plain yogurt
1 c. Sour cream
salt as per taste
1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. urad dhal
10 sliced pieces seedless cucumber
10 sliced pieces tomato
1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
10 curry leaves
1 hot green pepper (cut into 2 or 3 pieces)
1/8 tsp. asafoetida powder
1 red chili pepper (break into 2 or 3 pieces)
1/4 x 1/4 inch fresh ginger
1 tsp. coriander leaves (chopped)

Method:
Mix the rice with yogurt, sour cream and salt well. If you make yogurt rice in the morning to eat in the evening, you may use 1 cup of warm milk in the place of Sour cream. In a fry pan, saute mustard seeds and urad dhal in oil. When mustard seeds pop, add curry leaves, asafoetida, chopped green and red pepper, ginger and coriander leaves. When the whole mixture turns into golden color, remove from heat and pour it into the yogurt mixed rice. Mix well and garnish it with tomato and cucumber pieces. In the course of the day, if the yogurt rice gets solidified, add warm water to bring it to the semi-solid consistency. Good to serve this at picnics. Since it does not spoil fast, can be carried to be used as a lunch during short trips, specially in hot summer season.

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