This one is for our friends from the North :-)
“Thayir Saadam’ (yogurt rice) is an easy-to-make item, but for you to be able to benefit from this ease, and make it again and again, it has to be tasty enough to be popular with family, correct? So here’s how to do that.
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
Rice - 1 cup
Fresh thick yogurt - Min. 750g for mixing (you can add more if you prefer)
Milk - 10 to 12 tbsp
Groundnut Oil - 5 tbsp
Bengal Gram Dal halves (chana dal) - 1 tbsp
Black Gram Dal halves (urad dal) - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds (sarson) - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - to taste (split and chopped very small)
Red chillies - 1 (long) (chopped to 1” pieces)
Fresh Ginger - to taste (shredded or ground)
Curry leaves - 10-12 (or to taste)
Asafoetida (heeng) powder - 2 pinches
Coriander leaves - as per taste + garnish
Turmeric - 1 pinch
Salt to taste
Fresh Pomegranate Seeds - to taste
Fresh Black / Green grapes - to taste
Ice cubes - 3 to 4 small ones
Step 1: Cooking the Rice
This is the most important step in getting the taste and consistency right! You should cook the rice extremely soft and mushy, close to porridge consistency. How much water you need to add to do this depends on the rice variety you use. As a rule of thumb, you can use 1.5 times the water you usually use to make plain white rice. (If you usually have your rice really dry, then you might need twice the amount of water than usual - you’ll have to experiment a little to figure this out.) Cook the rice, and let it cool to room temperature.
Step 2: Seasoning
Heat the oil in a kadai. Add chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds in this order. When the mustard seeds splutter well, turn the stove off and add chillies, ginger, curry leaves, heeng and coriander leaves in this order. Stir till the curry leaves are dark green and crisp. Add the turmeric (this gives a light cream colour; optional).
Step 3: Mixing
Mix the yogurt little by little into the cooled rice well so that there are no lumps. Add salt to taste and mix. Once you get a consistency you like, add a little more yogurt, and the milk, because it will thicken when left standing. Mix in the seasoning till the thayir saadam looks uniform. If you’re planning to serve it more than 2-3 hours later, add the ice cubes now.
Step 4: Garnish / Serve
Add the grapes and pomegranate seeds, and mix. Add a little more yogurt to adjust the consistency if required. Garnish with a few more of the pomegranate seeds and coriander leaves. Serve chilled with a pickle of your choice (in the South, lemon or mango pickle is the standard combination with this dish).
Hope you and your family like this dish. It’s got everything going for it - probiotics, fibre, fruit, a little oil, taste and it’s great for digestion!