Yogurt Rice (also known as Curd Rice in India) is a light and refreshing way to use leftover rice. This tasty dish is eaten almost daily in the South Indian states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. But as a Maharashtrian, I also grew up eating this simple and delicious rice dish which we just called “Dahi Bhath” which translates directly into “Yogurt Rice”. We usually ate this dish with a little Indian pickle and papads (crispy lentil wafers), it was just perfect for lunch or even as a light meal.
DAHI BHATH (Creamy Yogurt Rice)
2 cups cooked rice (room temperature or slightly warmed), lightly mashed
1½ cups yogurt (or more if needed)
½ cup milk
½” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
2-3 dried red chilies OR small green Thai Chilies (split in half lengthwise)
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal (skinned and split)
1 tbsp chana dal (split)
pinch of asafetida (hing)
4-5 fresh curry leaves
salt to taste
1 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a small bowl, soak the chana dal in a little warm water for at least 15-20 minutes. Drain well, dry well and set aside until needed.
In a large mixing bowl, add the yogurt and whisk until smooth and creamy. Next, add the cooked rice and a little salt. Mix well to combine, adding the milk while to continuing to stir. If you prefer a more creamier yogurt rice, feel free to add a little extra yogurt. Keep aside until needed.
FOR THE TEMPERING:
In a small saucepan on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds stop splattering, add both the urad dal and the chana dal. When the urad dal starts to brown lightly, quickly add the asafetida, curry leaves, minced ginger and either the dried red chilies or the fresh green chilies. Stir to combine all the ingredients with the oil and then pour the entire hot oil and spice mixture over the cool yogurt rice. Mix well to combine all of the flavors, garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve immediately with a variety of Indian pickles and papads.
Feel free to add some fresh vegetables to the yogurt rice such as diced cucumber, grated carrots, green peas or some diced red onion. You could also add some toasted cashew pieces for crunch.
For a lovely bright pink color, add some diced beets that have been steamed :-)