Now as soon as I say that the recipe I am going to share today is Curd rice, I can imagine Maamiyaars and Gayathris in families (gossip-specialists & critics in families) turning up their noses. They’d compare me with their daughter, themselves, their maid or that horrible character in the TV serial (Indian TV serials have only 2 types of characters – saccharine good & perfect or deviously bad & empty) and profile me as the lazy woman who makes a big deal of a simple curd rice.
I believe every dish, however simple can be exquisite or bleh. A fried egg is simple. It can also be the most beautiful thing – lacy slightly browned edges, soft set whites holding a jiggly yolk with a smattering of freshly ground pepper. Or it could be something else.
I also do not believe the single recipe dish. There are always numerous ways to make a dish. I am always on the lookout to make a dish better, to put a different twist on it, to make it easier or quicker.
My complaint with curd rice was always that it was either too runny or too thick and lumpy. It did not stay the way it was packed. By lunch time, it would have transformed into something else. Sometimes the curd rice turned too sour. If I tried to control the tang by adding too little curd, it tasted too flat. The rice had to be soft too – not pureed in a mixie, baby food kind of mash but pongal kind of creamy soft.
The one trick I am going to share today will solve all your curd rice problems, I promise.
Cook rice in a pot of water till it is cooked through and the rice grains are full length. Then add milk and cook the rice in milk until creamy and soft and pongal like. This step makes all the difference. Cooking the rice in milk ensures that the rice remains creamy, luscious and soft. The milk also offsets the tang in the curd brilliantly to make it just as tangy enough as you want it. Towards the end when you’re tasting and adjusting the seasoning, feel free to add in a spoon of curd or milk to achieve your right amount of tang. There is no right or wrong here. Since the rice has already absorbed a lot of moisture while being cooked, this curd rice will not get thick and lumpy as it sits. It will stay just as creamy and light at lunch time as when you made it in the morning. So don’t add too much liquid while adjusting thinking it will get thicker as it sits. This curd rice won’t. How you make it is how it’ll stay.
There are lots of ways to serve this curd rice. I love to fold in chopped raw mangoes and serve alongside a bright thokku. Here I served it alongside a simple double beans & butter beans thokku. There are so many other ways to serve this.
Classic – Curd rice with Maavadu and lots of the maavadu juice
Anytime favourite – Curd rice with any sharp pickle – Aavakkai or Lemon pickle
Dinner Party – Ladle the curd rice into a large borosil bowl and dot with pomegranate arils or seedless green grapes
Lunch box – Curd rice with a bright veggie thokku
Travel – Curd rice packed with Kara potato chips
Non-vegetarian lover – Curd rice and Prawn Thokku
I would love to eat Curd rice every way I listed above. Curd rice is one of my favourite comfort foods. It feels good all over, as if I’ve done something good for my body – drunk green tea, went for a walk and did surya namaskars. I would have only eaten a bowl full of curd rice. Somehow I’ve been wired too think that curd rice is good for me. If you are a curd rive lover like me, do try this recipe. It won’t disappoint you I promise. Enjoy!