Friday, April 24, 2015

Non-Dairy "Yogurt" Rice! (Rice With Tofu "Yogurt")

Yogurt Rice with Mango Pickle, Zucchini With Besan, Papadams
You read that right, yes non-dairy! Vegan Yogurt Rice - really and truly vegan! South Indian people raised on yogurt for every meal would appreciate the joy of this vegan version. I had been trying to make vegan yogurt a long time. I tried to find plain unflavored soy or coconut yogurt as a substitute for regular yogurt but have not been lucky to find them. Life without a yogurt substitute has not been easy - but not anymore :-). Now we can have our fill of recipes that usually include yogurt as an important ingredient!

In my quest for a replacement for regular yogurt, I made cashew yogurt; it was absolutely lovely but a bit expensive, not practical for daily consumption. Although I had toyed with the idea of making a tofu yogurt for a long time, I just honestly did not find the idea very exciting - until I did it - thinking that if it did not work, I could always compost it!

Long story short, I plunged ahead and made the tofu yogurt and liked it well. But when I made it into the quintessential South Indian Yogurt Rice, I could have cried for the joy! The simple seasonings (mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger and green chile) turned it into an amazing taste treat - Oh, so creamy and satisfying! In a pinch, even when made without the essential mustard seeds, it was great. Really that good. Period. Even lifelong connoisseurs of traditional yogurt rice loved it!

No potlucks or picnics could be complete without yogurt rice! We absolutely need yogurt rice to go with the custormary Puliyodari that we adore. Now we can enjoy it to our hearts' content.

Soy-Free Option: Use any other non-dairy yogurt; cashew-gurt, almond or coconut yogurt, etc maybe used instead of the "tofu yogurt" given in the recipe.


You can use any type of rice you like or have on hand; I have used Basmati, Brown, regular white, Jasmine, Japanese Sushi rice, long, short, or medium grain, etc. All types of rice lend themselves to being made into yogurt rice.

Although the silken soft tofu is ideal, any type of tofu maybe used. I have used all kinds of tofu with good results. 

6 - 8 Servings


1 Recipe Tofu Yogurt:
1 block (14 oz) Tofu, preferably Silken Soft, but any will do
1/4 tsp Salt
Juice from 1 Lemon/Lime

1 cup uncooked Rice (Brown, white, Sushi rice)
1 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1 hot Green Chile, cored and minced
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, grated
1 Stem Curry Leaves, sliced
1 pinch Asafetida (optional)

Pomegranate Arils, Ripe Mango cubes, cut sweet grapes, etc for serving
Mango or Lemon Pickles for Serving
Gothsu or other curries for serving


Soak the rice in plenty of water for about 30 minutes.

While rice is soaking, make the yogurt: Combine drained tofu, salt, and lemon/lime juice in the container of a blender with about 1 cup of water; whirl until smooth. Taste for lemon and salt; add more if needed. Chill until needed.

Drain, rinse and add 2 + 1/2 cups of fresh water to the rice. Stir in salt, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat until soft and water is absorbed; set aside to cool to lukewarm or room temperature.

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add the asafetida.

Remove the oil pan from heat and carefully stir in the ginger, green chile, and the curry leaves.

Return to heat and cook until the green chiles are softened.

Pour the spice mix over the rice along with the tofu mixture; stir well and check for seasonings; add a little salt if needed - yogurt rice should not be too salty.

Also add a little cool water to thin to the right consistency - it should be like a thick pudding.

Let sit covered for about 30 minutes if you can wait :-).

Serve right away or later. Yogurt Rice gets better overnight allowing all the flavors to combine and marry. Any leftovers may be stored in the fridge and served cold or gently warmed.

Sprinkle each serving with pomegranate arils, mango cubes, chopped roasted cashews, etc if you like.

Traditional accompaniments are Mango/Lemon Pickles, Eggplant or another type of Gothsu, any curry, fried yogurt chiles, etc.


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