This curd rice recipe is tangy and packed with flavor. It’s a traditional Indian yogurt rice that makes the perfect side dish to your favorite tikka masala or curried veggies.
WHAT IS CURD RICE?
Have you ever heard of curd rice? It’s a popular Indian dish that might sound a bit strange to Westerners. The term “curd” is not so appetizing in our culture, but it simply refers to the use of unsweetened yogurt.
Don’t think curdled milk. Think of a lovely yogurt marinade mixed with aromatic Indian ingredients and white rice.
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CURD RICE SIDE DISH
I just love the flavor blend in this super tangy curd rice recipe. Indian yogurt rice can make a great meatless protein and is typically served at the end of the meal. The cool yogurt rice can help relieve the heat of a spicy Indian meal.
I prefer serving curd rice with the meal, and alternating bites of it with my spicy food. Sometimes I’ll even mix with whatever meat we are having.
CURD RICE INGREDIENTS
If you don’t have these spices in your pantry, check out a local international grocery store, or buy them off Amazon. It will take a bit more planning, but this delicious curd rice is worth it!
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CURRY LEAVES – These curry leaves are a very important ingredient for making curd rice. Curry leaves are very different from curry powder. They have a very unique citrus and nutty aroma, and are a key ingredient in South Indian recipes. You can buy fresh curry leaves on Amazon. I went with dried curry leaves which still have a wonderful flavor and aroma. The dried herb lasts much longer so I can make lots of different dishes with them over a few months.
RED CHILIES – I keep a big jar of dried red chilies in my pantry. I use them for Korean recipes, Thai recipes, Indian recipes, Chinese recipes, or pretty much any time I want some heat. Curd rice is usually made with fresh chilies. If you can find fresh red chilies in a grocery store by you, that’s great. I can’t find them easily, so go with dried red chilli which still give that heat and flavor. You can also swap green chillies if you prefer.
BLACK MUSTARD SEEDS – Black mustard seeds are another key ingredient for South Indian cooking. They are often a very dark reddish brown to black, and have the strongest flavor and aroma of all mustard seeds. You can substitute equal amounts of brown or yellow mustard seeds, or even use yellow mustard powder. But the curd rice flavor will be different. So if you’re wanting authentic South Indian food, get the black mustard seeds.
CUMIN SEEDS – Cumin is a flowering plant that grows natively in the Middle East and India. The seeds from the cumin plant pack a powerful punch of flavor. Those of us in the west tend to think of cumin as an ingredient from Mexican cuisine. But cumin is actually originally from Middle Eastern cooking and came to Mexico with the Spaniards in the 1500’s. Don’t swap cumin powder for the seeds in your curd rice recipe. The flavor will be too raw. It’s important to get them toasted in the oil.
CHANA DAL – Chana dal, also called bengal gram dal, is a variety of lentil from the pulse family. They are high in protein, and are actually the center of chickpeas. Chana dal is made by removing the outer layer of black chickpeas and then splitting the kernel. Dal has an earthy, nutty taste to it. You only need a tablespoon of dal for making curd rice. But you can easily use up your chana dal by cooking it like lentils for your next Indian night.
ASAFOETIDA POWDER (HING) – Asafoetida powder (also called hing) is a crucial ingredient for Indian vegetarian cooking. Asafoetida is dried resin from a species of giant fennel. The flavor and aroma are quite pungent and overpowering when raw. But when cooked in oil, the flavor mellows to one similar to leeks or mild garlic. It is considered a digestive aid, that can prevent flatulence. Another reason it is popular to eat curd rice at the end of a meal. Be warned that asafoetida powder contains wheat as a binding agent. If you need to eat gluten free. I’d substitute onion powder. The flavor will be different, but still similar.
HOW TO MAKE CURD RICE
- Start with 3 cups of cooked rice. Basamati rice is traditional, but you could also use white rice. This is a great way to use up leftover rice from the night before. But fresh cooked rice is fine too.
- In a large bowl, whisk two cups of plain yogurt with one cup of milk. I like using Greek yogurt because the the flavor and protein. But regular plain yogurt is more traditional.
- Next you’ll need to heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a pan. I use avocado oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and chana dal. Let them simmer and crackle in the oil until the dal turns a light brown color.
- Add the red chillies, asafoetida powder, cashews, and curry leaves to the oil. Let them sizzle, then turn off the heat.
- Pour the oil and herbs from the pan into your curd (yogurt and milk) and mix well.
- Add the cooked rice, and mix again, mashing the rice a bit as you stir.
- Garnish the rice with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro). You can also top it with grated carrots and pomegranate seeds if desired.
- Curd rice can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature.
PIN TO SAVE CURD RICE FOR LATER
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- If not using leftovers, cook rice and set aside to cool a bit.
- Beat yogurt and milk together, then set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add dal, mustard seeds, and cumin seeds, then fry until dal turns a golden brown.
- Add chilis, asafoetida powder, cashews, and curry leaves. Let them begin to sizzle before removing from heat.
- Pour the herbs and oil from the pan into the yogurt mix.
- Add the rice and salt, then mix well, mashing the rice as you mix.
- Garnish with coriander leaves (cilantro) and serve with your favorite Indian dishes!
This recipe is NOT gluten free! Asafoetida powder contains wheat as a binding agent. Make sure to substitute onion powder instead if you need a gluten free recipe.
Serving Size:6 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 238Saturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 432mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g