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Yogurt Rice

A “comfort food” that’s versatile

A “comfort food” that’s versatile

You can enjoy plain yogurt and rice or you can garnish the mixture to your liking. There are two basic versions, sweet and savory. The sweet version contains some digestive spices, rice, sugar, dried fruits and nuts. The savory version contains cooked rice mixed with yogurt, salt, vegetables and tempering (herbs and spices). The tempering gives it some heat to balance the coolness of the yogurt.

I asked a young Indian bachelor his favorite dish to make for dinner. I figured his favorite dish would have to be easy as well as tasty. His answer was savory yogurt rice. 

Recipe

Yogurt Rice

Simple, nourishing, easy-to-digest, and delicious. 
Cuisine: South Indian

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white or brown rice rice can be replaced with steel cut oats, rolled oats or millet; or use a combination of grains; for health benefits, instant rice is not as good.
  • 1 cup yogurt may want to add a little more
  • 1/2 cup water optional
  • salt as needed

Savory additions

  • carrots shredded
  • cucumber finely diced or grated
  • cilantro chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger grated or crushed
  • 1 green chili chopped

Savory temperings

  • 1 tbsp oil sesame, coconut
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 tsp curry leaves
  • 1 tsp urad dal (black gram) skinned
  • 1 tsp channa dal
  • red chili

Savory garnishes

  • 1-2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • a few grapes sliced in half
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves finely cut

Sweet additions

  • 1-2 tbsp sweetener unrefined sugar, maple syrup
  • 1 tsp spices cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1 pinch saffron soaked in milk
  • 1/8 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup almonds sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup pistachio minced (not roasted or salty)

Instructions

  • Prepare rice
    Wash and soak rice (30 minutes or up to a few hours)
    Cook rice by method of choice (pressure cooking, boiling, etc.) — rice should be well cooked
    Fluff up rice or mash it depending on your preferences
  • Prepare savory tempering
    Heat oil in pan. When the oil becomes hot, add mustard seeds and/or cumin.
    When the mustard seeds start to crackle, add dals
    When dals are golden, add curry leaves, red chilies, and/or hing.
  • Combine
    Cool rice to around room temperature. Adding yogurt to hot rice will coagulate the yogurt.
    Add salt, yogurt and water to the rice until you get the desired consistency.   Mix very well and break up lumps in any. You can use a spoon, potato masher, or your hands.
    Add desired additions.
    If making savory yogurt rice, pour tempering over rice (after tempering has cooled) and mix again.
    Garnish if desired.
  • Serve
    Best served immediately.
    My Indian friends serve  savory yogurt/rice with lemon pickle.

Examples

Miriam Kattumuri’s super simple version of yogurt rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • cilantro topping

Ramah’s version of sweet curd rice

  • 2 cups of lightly sour curd
  • 3 tsp raw sugar/jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pistachio minced
  • 1/4 cup almonds sliced
  • 1/4 cup well cooked rice
  • Saffron pinch soaked in milk
  • 1 cup rice

Mix one by one, rice is added last

Sirisha’s version of sweet curd rice

Top yogurt/rice mixture with jaggery (sugar) and ghee (butter).

Good to know

The six tastes in savory yogurt rice

Sweet (rice, grapes, yogurt), sour (if store-bought yogurt or sour yogurt is being used), salty (salt), bitter (curry leaves and coriander leaves, mustard seeds), pungent (mustard seeds, red chilies, ginger), astringent (asafetida, curry leaves, coriander leaves, cucumber).

Influences on the body

Well cooked rice is a grain that is nourishing and easy to digest… In Ayurveda, it is always recommended to consume yogurt in a diluted form, like buttermilk, to make it more digestible. That is why we add water in the yogurt rice recipe above. Yogurt by nature is heavy, sticky and hard to digest… Addition of spices like ginger, mustard seeds, chillies increase the heating quality of the yogurt rice to complement the heavy, cold and kapha like nature of the rice and yogurt mixture. Asafetida, ginger, curry leaves also increase the digestibility of the dish.

The Ayurvedic life

Special thanks and sources

Sirisha

Ramah

Miriam Kattumuri

Veg Recipes of India

Swathi’s recipes

The Ayurvedic life

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