Even though I am a pukka north Indian, I have a strong affinity for south Indian cuisine. My initiation to south Indian cuisine was partly thanks to my college friends who introduced me to the soft and spongy idlis dunked in spicy and tangy sambhar and the crispy dosa that were meant to be polished off with coconut and tomato chutneys.
However, it were my colleagues at Reliance where I started my first job (95% of the staff hailed from one or the other state of south India) who introduced me to a huge array of dishes that I would see in their Tiffin boxes each day. Their dishes tasted so different from what I had eaten in the south Indian specialty restaurants in Delhi or places in north India. The food in the restaurants had been tweaked to cater to the north Indian palate. Having tasted my colleagues’ home-made authentic south Indian dishes, I fell in love with the south Indian cuisine all over again.
My colleagues and I often used to visit Andhra Bhavan in Delhi and enjoy their sumptuous south Indian thali. However, it was the UNI canteen which was an all time favourite. The canteen (somewhere around Parliament Street) was near my office which served authentic south Indian meals at an unbelievably reasonable price. Although the canteen was located in the premises of the UNI wire service, it was open to all and sundry. It was amusing to see even the multimillionaire Ambani brothers eating out there in the very humble environs of the canteen.
Most of my colleagues used to order their lunch from the UNI canteen on Saturdays. I too joined the gang and stopped carrying my lunch pack from home on Saturdays. In fact, I used to look forward to the day and would mostly order their rice preparations such as Sambhar Rice (a tangy & tempered dal and rice preparation), Tomato Rice,Lemon Riceand Curd Rice.
Each Saturday used to be a different rice dish on the menu. I used to look forward to the day when the canteen would serve my favourite – the curd rice. It was served with fried dry red chilli smeared in some spicy masala, either a sweetish lemon chutney or a tangy mango pickle called Pachadi along with some south Indian papad (famously known as poppadums). Somehow, the simple flavours of the curd rice paired with a tangy pickle and papad seemed like a match made in heaven! Curd Rice is an ideal summer meal. Both, the rice and the curd have a cooling effect on the body. The pickle peps up and helps the digestive system from becoming sluggish due to the summer heat.
Here is what you would need,
2 cups over cooked rice (cooled)
1 cup yoghurt (dahi)
½ tsp finely chopped ginger
1 finely chopped green chili (de-seeded)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh green coriander (cilantro)
Salt to taste
¼ tsp cracked black or white pepper corns
2 tsp oil
2 whole dry red chili (split in two and seeds removed)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal (ivory lentils – split & skinless black dal)
1 tsp chana dal (split Bengal gram)
7-8 fresh curry leaves
Mango pickle or Lemon Pickle (actually any pickle of your choice)
In a bowl beat the curd and mix in the rice. Add salt, pepper, green chili, ginger and fresh coriander. Keep aside.
For tempering, heat the oil and add the red whole chilies till they start to change colour. Reduce heat and add mustard seeds. Once they start to crackle, add both the dals till they change colour to goldenish brown. Immediately add the curry leaves (these might splatter oil so add them carefully) Remove from heat and pour this into the curd rice. Give a stir. Serve with pickle and papad.
Serves 1-2 Thanks for visiting and see you again!
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Loved the ethnic touch to the photographs. During my long stay in South India I too learned to appreciate this curd rice. After taking a cue from a restaurant in mysore I started adding fruits and dry fruits to curd rice. But a nice tadka is the key.
Love your props, Taruna. I want them! You make writing look so effortless. Love how you go on to describe the story behind these dishes. I can almost envision everything. Although I’m at work right, once I started reading it, I was stuck and had finish it.
Must confess I don’t know enough about Indian food to know the difference between north and south Indian. But if this curd rice dish is an example of south Indian, I’m on board. Wonderful presentation!
There was a time when I would just not touch curd rice. Never liked the mushy cold taste. These days, my tastebud changed, became matured I guess, and curd rice with fried red chili are my favorite on hot summer nights 🙂
Hi EFS, Thank you so much for stopping by my space otherwise I would have been deprived from the pleasure of feasting here. Seriously,this space is so well organised and needless to say looks a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Glad to join u too:)
hi there..first time here..yummy saadham and gorgeous clicks as well ! do drop by my space too when you get the time. i write for 2 blogs – Quick Picks-all abt food and Picks Quicks – all other than food. 🙂