Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Yogurt Rice (Thair Shadam)

The weather is getting warm - which means picnic season is here! To our family no picnic is complete unless accompanied by the cooling, tangy, yummy, Yogurt Rice. It is an age old tradition to take yogurt rice whether on short trips or a long journey. No one would even think of undertaking a journey without taking the many-tiered Tiffin Dubba along full of various delicious journey food such as Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice), Lemon Rice, etc and of course the Yogurt Rice. (A tiffin dubba is similar to a Japanese Bento box.) And Yogurt Rice has to be savored with the delicious fried yogurt cured chilies or hot mango pickles - especially the one called Vadu Mangai (tiny mangoes flavored with mustard seeds and chilies).

For those who don't do dairy, try this Non-Dairy Yogurt Rice!

One of the most favored traditional accompaniments to yogurt rice is fried yogurt cured hot chilies as well as various types of mango or lemon/lime pickles. Of course, papadams and curries are welcome additions as well.

Hot mango or lemon/lime pickles (many varieties), yogurt cured chilies, and brown mustard seeds are available in Indian markets.

Although I had made a draft of this post months ago, it was too cold to think about picnics. Andrea's post on picnics inspired me to publish it.

Note: Sometimes finely chopped cucumbers, chopped roasted cashews, etc. are added to Yogurt Rice.  But since my family members are purists and like their food simple and traditional, I don't add any.

6 to 8 Servings


1 cup Rice
1 tsp Salt or to taste
3 cups Fresh yogurt
1 or 2 cups Fresh Milk
1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped


1 tsp Oil or Ghee
1 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 Tbsp finely grated Fresh Ginger
1 Hot Green Chili, cores removed and finely minced
1 stem Fresh Curry Leaves, finely chopped


Wash the rice well and place in a pan with 2 1/2 cups of fresh water. Add salt and bring to a boil; cook on low heat until soft, cover and allow to cool slightly.

When the rice is a little cool, mash well with a potato masher. Add the milk and keep mashing until well mixed.

Mix the yogurt in and stir well to combine.

Cut off the stems from the green chili, cut in half, remove the core with a teaspoon. Discard the cores and minced the green parts. Mince the ginger. Strip the curry leaves from the stem and finely chop.

Make the thalippu: heat the oil and cook the mustard until they start popping; add the ginger, chili, and curry leaves. Cook for about a minute until the chili softens and pour over the rice mixture and mix well. 

Serve at room temperature with fried yogurt cured chilies, any type of Indian pickles (especially tender Mango Pickles called Vadu Mango), your favorite curries such as Aviyal, Mezhukkuvaratti, etc.

Leftovers are fine stored in the fridge for two or three days.



Andrea Frazer said...

Ah, thanks.

I made your rainbow pasta awhile back with great success! I did a bit of substituting, but it was delicious. I also now make curry rice every week. Not as intricate as you, probably: I just steam brown rice with curry in there and bingo... the house smells so good.

On a side note: I will miss everyone so much this summer. I can't believe my boy is in kindergarten. It is one of life's moments, but it breaks my heart none the less. If I could shove him back into my uterus where he'd be safe forever, I think I would! I'm so lame that way.

Anyway, you are wonderful.

Geetha said...

Hi Mama P: glad the salad worked out. Curried brown rice sounds yummy - simple sometimes is the best way to go.
It is hard to see our little ones grow up so quickly. Kindergarten is probably one of the hardest of milestones - the bravest of moms shudder to boldly send our babes to the scary unknown worlds where they have not gone before! I have survived this experience twice over and we all made it through. You can do it :).

Shobhaa said...

Hi Geetha,

DO try this variation too for the Yogurt Rice: Just before serving add some fine chopped carrot, raw mango, cucumber and tomato. On special occasions you can even add some pomegranate seeds(on the side you can have roasted papads). Its healthy and yummy too!!!

Geetha said...

Shobhaa: Mmmmmmmmmm, I absolutely loved your variations. It was truly delicious with all the yummy additions as you suggested. Thank you! - G