Asian Indian Comfort Food, or Curd Rice Recipe
Asian Indian Comfort Food, or Curd Rice Notes
This is the most unlikely comfort food I have ever eaten, and by far my favorite. It's known for its calming, soothing taste served at room temperature. The ingredients may bely the actual comfort this food gives...though perhaps it suits certain people, too! You just have to try it.
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup yogurt (Indian or non-fat plain)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 fresh Indian chili, or jalapeno
- 1/2 inch cube fresh peeled ginger
- to taste, vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon urad dal, black or white
- 8-10 fresh, or dried, curry leaves
- 2 dried red chile peppers
- for garnish, fresh cilantro, chopped
Serves / Yields
Enough to feed me for a few days - although it can be shared if you have the right company!
Rinse rice and keep covered in 2 inches of water for 30 minutes.
Put 1 cup of plain yogurt in a bowl, add 3/4 teaspoon salt, and whisk until smooth and creamy.
Bring 12 cups water to boil, add rice and bring to boil again. Boil vigorously for 12 minutes. Drain and put this in a big bowl. Add yogurt while the rice is still hot and mix gently.
While the rice is boiling, mince up little green chili (discard the seeds) and mince up the cube of ginger.
Heat the oil in a pan. Throw in the black mustard seeds. When seeds begin to "pop," add the teaspoon of urad dal. When the dal turns reddish, add the curry leaves and 2 dried red chiles. When the red chiles turn dark, lift pan and pour all over the bowl of cooked rice-yogurt mixture. Sprinkle the fresh chopped cilantro (optional), minced green chili, and ginger over all and gently mix. Serve at room temperature and add salt to personal preference.
Chill the leftovers, which are splendid.
Yum. The urad dal and curry leaves are subtle but splendid flavors. I have left out the cilantro with no major upset, but leaving out the others seems like it would make for a marked imbalance in the final flavor.
Editor's note: Indian markets and cookbooks often called cilantro "fresh coriander". They come from the same plant. Cilantro is the herb leaves, and coriander is the seed.