Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice

By Published On: 13 Nov '23Last Updated: 14 Apr '24

Curd Rice - an exotic South Indian rice dish made with cooked rice, yogurt and herbs then tempered with asafoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Makes a quick and easy lunch or early dinner with Indian style pickles and papadums. Delish!!

If you are after a mildly spicy, savoury rice dish that will keep your stomach cool during the hot summer months, then this Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice is a rice that delivers.

Rice is a big part of South Indian meal. This Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice | Mosaranna has got to be South India’s simple home style rice dish, with 70% of Brahmins eating it at least once a day. Curd rice is so special that some do not mind eating it three times a day too!

My Brahmin friends in India informed me that curd rice is offered as ‘Prasadam’ (holy offering) in temples during religious festivals and then distributed among devotees.

This creamy Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice makes for a delicious main course lunch or dinner for a summer’s day. Curd rice is healthy as it is packed with protein and calcium. It’s a well balanced rice dish with multilayered flavours from a tempering made of asafoetida (hing), black mustard seeds, curry leaves, and herbs such as green chillies and fresh ginger .

Eating Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice is a whole different flavour experience and you only need a handful of ingredients to transform regular rice into this pudding like delicious curd rice.

what is curd rice | yogurt rice

Curd Rice! This famous mustard seeds and curry leaves infused mushy curd rice or yogurt Rice is a traditional Karnataka recipe, where the South Indian Brahmins (vegetarians) fondly call it ‘Mosaranna’ (mosaru = curd and Anna = rice).

Curd rice or yogurt rice is a savoury rice dish made using cooked rice, unsweetened yogurt (aka dahi or curd in India) and tempering of multilayered flavours of asafoetida (aka hing), black mustard seeds, and curry leaves. It’s a comforting dish that cools your stomach and a healthy way of eating rice.

It is a cool way of transpiring regular rice into something totally exotic for a hot summer’s day and it is surprisingly straightforward to make.

Curd rice or yogurt rice is naturally healthy as yogurt is rich in calcium, probiotics and thus aids digestion.

In South India, this curd rice or yogurt rice is typically served at the end of lunch or dinner with Indian style pickles and papadums. The idea of serving this after a meal, is to cool the stomach after eating a spicy lunch!

Eating Curd Rice is very comforting on a hot summer’s day, particularly as the mercury in South India can tip anywhere between 35°C – 40°C in summer. Eating this flavour loaded curd rice in the heat of the summer really soothes your stomach.

Here in Australia, curd | yogurt rice is delicious way to beat the heat of the summer, particularly as we are expecting a hot summer this year. Interestingly, in my opinion, for lovers of yogurt and rice, curd rice also makes for a good vegetarian lunch or dinner option during autumn or spring time.

This curd rice makes for a tasty lunch box idea, as this rice is served chilled or at room temperature. No embarrassing smells wafting through the office from the steam that escapes from your lunch box during heating. Just pop your lunch box in the fridge at work and enjoy chilled curd rice straight from the fridge.

my curd | yogurt rice recipe

Although I had eaten curd rice while growing up, I learnt to make curd rice from my Anglo-Indian friend in Sydney. Her way of cooking is, just keep the recipe stupid simple.

My way of making curd rice or yogurt rice she said, is ‘stupid simple’!!

In this stupid simple style of making curd rice or yogurt rice, don’t be too hung up about mashing the rice once cooked, unless you like the rice to be really mushy, which I don’t. The rice gets mushy if you overcook it by about 3-5 minutes after its original cooking time, ensuring you have just enough water for the rice to be mushy. If there is not enough water, add 3-4 tbsp. of hot water in the last few minutes of cooking the rice.

You must cool the cooked rice completely before you add the yogurt mixture, failing which, the rice will start to get runny. Cool, cool, cool the rice at least for 30 minutes at room temperature.

If you are running out of time, then, place the saucepan of cooked rice over of large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes or until it comes to room temperature.

To put it in a nutshell, whether you are eating this curd rice for a mid-day meal, as a snack or as a flavoursome dinner, just make it a fun experience to make and eat it in a simple way. After all, it is plain rice, it will absorb all the aromatics as soon as the tempering | seasoning is combined. If left in the fridge to mature for a few hours, the flavours are even better!

Relax and enjoy making this start from scratch, creamy, satisfying and yummy Curd Rice that takes only 30 minutes to make. You are in for a special treat!!

the ingredients

  • Rice – I have used SunRice Doongara Clever Low GI white rice (Find at: Woolworths supermarkets in the rice shelf in 1kg bags). It is a variety of long grain rice and works well for this recipe. Instructions on how to cook are in the recipe card below.
    • Substitutes:
    • Sona Masoori rice (Find at: your local Indian stores) that many Indian people stock in their pantry, is a medium-grain rice, has less starchy content also works well.
    • SunRice Jasmine long-grain rice (Find at: Woolworths supermarkets in 1kg bags). Leftover rice is really great to make plain steamed rice or fried rice!
    • If you already have short-grain rice at home, use the short grain rice.
    • Although this is a from scratch recipe, if you have any leftover cooked rice, you may warm the cooked rice in the microwave for 1½ – 2 minutes. Add 3-4 tbsp. of warm water and mash it slightly to make it to porridge like consistency. combine the mashed rice with the yogurt mixture and voila!!
  • Onion – Finely chopped brown onion is added for a savoury taste and crunch. Feel free to omit if you are not a fan!
  • Ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves – Staples in most Indian cooking, adds flavour, zing, taste and a bit of chilli kick. Chop the ginger finely. If you are not a fan of the chilli kick, remove the seeds, chop and add.
  • Natural yogurt – I have used Farmers Union Greek style full cream natural yogurt. The creamy texture of this yogurt yields a very creamy curd rice. If you don’t like creamy curd rice, use your choice of natural yogurt, such as low fat or no fat yogurts, but the taste will vary. Substitute: Use home made yogurt, if you make at home.
  • Full cream milk (if using) – A little milk is added to balance the acidity of yogurt. Add only if you find the taste of curd rice a bit tart or sour. I have used ½ cup milk. Both room temperature or chilled milk work well. Substitute: Use low fat milk or no fat milk, if that’s your choice, but I would not recommend.
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional) – Added as garnish, for a lovely crunch and a pop of colour, although I did not have any and hence mine has none! Substitute: 2 tbsp. of finely grated carrot. Boondi or tiny fried gram flour balls also works well. Find at: your local Indian grocery store.

The tempering (aka seasoning or tadka) ingredients:

Tempering perks up the flavour and texture of this simple rice dish. If you are not a fan of these tempering flavours, omit the tempering and eat the rice without the tempering.

  • Oil – The asafoetida, mustards and curry leaves are fried in oil, cooled and added to the curd rice. The flavours of each of these ingredients are released only when they come in contact with hot oil.
  • Asafoetida aka Hing (optional) – Used for its lingering depth of flavour and savouriness in vegetarian curries. Feel free to use it anywhere you use garlic and onions. I love it in bean and lentil dishes because of its propensity to eliminate gas or in other words to aid digestion. To use: sprinkle a pinch of two into the hot oil and then add the mustard seeds, followed by curry leaves. Important: People with gluten intolerance should read the label carefully and only use asafoetida that is gluten-free. Do not use regular asafoetida, if you are gluten intolerant as it contains gluten. Find at: All Indian grocery stores.
  • Black mustard seeds – A tempering staple or tadka ingredient with a distinctive aroma. When the mustard seeds pop in the hot oil, they release their nutty flavour. The curd rice absorbs these flavours resulting in a aromatic savoury rice dish. Find at: your local Indian grocery store.
  • Curry leaves – Flavour, flavour, flavour! Add only the leaves of one sprig into the hot oil to release their aromatic flavour. They will pop in a split second and then turn dark green. Find at: the produce section in some large supermarkets. Also available in some Asian markets but you will always find them in your local Indian store in their fridge.

Step-by-step instructions

The full instructions to make this Curd Rice are in the recipe card below, but here are some helpful tips to go along with the process photos.

Tip: SunRice Low-GI White Rice is a variety of long grain rice known as ‘Doongara‘. This rice is exclusively grown in Australia and sold in Woolworths Supermarkets in their rice shelf. I use this rice because it is a naturally low- GI rice, which means once a small amount of this rice is digested it releases energy slowly keeping blood sugar levels more stable, which is a crucial part of diabetes management, if you are a diabetic. Important: People with diabetes must consult their GP and select a type of rice that best suits their needs, as there are other better varieties of rice that they might consider using to make this curd rice.

cook the rice

1

In a medium size saucepan, combine rice and 500ml – 550mL water. Place on medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat low, cover and simmer till rice is well cooked and attains a soft, porridge/risotto-like consistency (approx. 10 minutes) stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside with the lid closed for 10 minutes. If you like the rice really mushy, then at this point mash a little with the back of a greased spoon.

combine the onion, greens, dairy and salt

2

While the rice is cooling, combine the onion, ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves, yogurt, milk (if using) and salt. Milk is not displayed in the image, as milk is added only to balance the acidity of yogurt.

add the yogurt mixture to the rice

3

When the rice has cooled completely, add the yogurt mixture to the rice and combine well. Test taste for seasoning.

prepare the tempering (aka seasoning)

4

Heat oil in a small frying pan or seasoning dish until shimmering. Add asafoetida and sizzle for a second. Add mustard seeds and splutter.

add curry leaves and finish the dish

5

Add curry leaves and when they splutter, remove from heat and cool off for 5 minutes. Pour over rice mixture and stir well to combine.

Once the tempering is combined with the rice mixture, this Curd Rice takes on the funky flavours of asafoetida, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Its a complete vegetarian meal on its own, a cool snack or dinner treat on a hot Summer’s day. I love the taste of this curd rice and can easily have two or three servings in one sitting. Mr M who does not like yogurt, will devour a plate of this curd rice not just in summer but also in spring and autumn.

Keep the curd rice chilled until ready to serve or if you like it at room temperature, then place on the kitchen bench for 20 minutes before serving. To serve, place the Curd Rice and Mango/Amba Khatta Curry on your dining table. Spoon a few tablespoons of curd rice into each bowl or plate. Top with a few pieces of Mango/Amba Khatta and sprinkle some khatta curry over the curd rice and some around the rice. Enjoy each mouthful of this delicious curd rice | yogurt rice!!

If you have tried this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback. Please be sure to rate the recipe and/or leave a comment below. If you want to see more recipe inspirations, you can follow me on Instagram @lavina_mendonsa.

Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice

Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice

Catherine Lavina Mendonsa
Turn the star of your pantry staple into an exotic Curd Rice | Yogurt Rice.  This creamy South Indian style rice dish is made using cooked rice, unsweetened yogurt and herbs then tempered with multilayered flavours of asafoetida, black mustard seeds and curry leaves.  It’s moist, slightly tangy and utterly delicious. Serve this pudding like rice dish as a vegetarian main lunch or early dinner with Indian style pickles and papadums.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup long grain rice, well rinsed 200g (cooked rice 3 cups) (See NOTE 1)
  • 3 cups water 750mL
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped 120g
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger finely chopped (24g) or to taste
  • 2-3 green chillies finely chopped (See NOTE 2)
  • 1 medium bunch coriander leaves chopped (1 cup)
  • 800g - 1 kg natural Greek yogurt full fat
  • ½ cup full cream milk optional (see NOTE 3)
  • tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Pomegranate seeds for garnish optional

For the tempering