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What Is Curd Rice?

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  • Written By: Lakshmi Sandhana
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Curd rice is a mixture of yogurt with rice seasoned with various spices. It is one of the most beloved South Indian dishes eaten during lunch or dinner, usually at the end of the meal. Curd rice is known as thayir sadam in Tamilnadu and is extremely popular there and in the neighboring states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Kerala. Considered to be a comfort food, it may be made in a very simple manner by mixing unsweetened yogurt with rice and a little salt or can be prepared much more elaborately with spices and even fresh or dry fruits.

This dish is favored by many Tamil Brahmins who consider a meal to be incomplete without it. It is prepared by boiling rice, allowing it to cool and then mashing the rice unril it becomes a little gooey. Some people prefer to mash the rice until it becomes a total paste, while others may just use boiled rice without mashing it.

Plain, watery yogurt is added to the rice along with a little salt and mixed thoroughly. Spices like mustard, urad dal, channa dal, and cumin are sauteed separately in a little kadai, and some asofetida and red chili is added to it. When the chili splutters, the kadai is taken off the heat, and the seasoning is poured on top of the curd rice and mixed well.

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While it is typically garnished with coriander leaves and curry leaves, in practice, the garnishes and additional ingredients can be extremely varied and depend entirely on the cook's enthusiasm. Some may prepare very elaborate versions of curd rice that include deseeded green or purple grapes, slivers of raw mango, and pomegranate seeds. Others may add grated carrot, grated ginger, and finely chopped green chillies. It can also be garnished with boondhi, small fried balls of chickpea flour, that give it an additional crunch. A few may also make curd rice from leftover rice in order to prevent it from going to waste.

One of the quickest foods to make, this dish can be whipped up in a matter of minutes with precooked rice and ready-made yogurt. This rice is typically eaten with any type of spicy pickle — lemon and mango pickles are standard favorites. It also combines well with dishes like fried potato or fish, though some have a taboo of eating any nonvegetarian item with yogurt. Usually eaten at the end of the meal to combat the effects of the spices consumed before, curd rice is also consumed as a stand-alone meal and is often packed for lunch. It tastes best when chilled, and because it normally tends to absorb a lot of water, excess water is added to it to prevent it from drying out and becoming very thick.

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