Yogurt Rice | How to Make Yogurt Rice

This Yogurt Rice, or “curd rice” is a simple, soothing South Indian dish. It’s made from cooked rice, yogurt, and Indian spices. You can enhance it with various ingredients like pomegranate arils, fried ginger, cucumber, and dried hot chiles. Some prefer fresh green chiles, while others insist on red ones. Enjoy it with mango pickle for the best flavor.

What is Yogurt Rice?

Yogurt rice, also known as “curd rice” in some regions, is a South Indian dish made by mixing cooked rice with yogurt or curd. It’s often seasoned with various spices, herbs, and sometimes tempered with pomegranate arils, mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Curd rice is a popular comfort food and is enjoyed for its cool and creamy texture, often served as a side dish or even as a main course in South Indian cuisine.

Why You’ll Love This Yogurt Rice Recipe

  • Ready in less than 15 minutes.
  • Quick & Easy
  • Cooling, comforting and healthy
  • Light on Stomach
  • Perfect for Summer Meals
  • Perfect for festivals, potlucks, gatherings, or kids’ lunches.
  • Suitable for vegetarians and gluten-free diets.

Health Benefits

  • It helps with digestion, making it the ideal home remedy for an upset stomach. Its ease of digestion effectively combats bloating and indigestion.
  • This is packed with probiotics, helping keep a healthy balance of gut-friendly bacteria and supporting good digestion.
  • Additionally, it boasts antioxidants, protein, calcium, and beneficial fats.
  • It aids in regulating the body’s temperature and serves as a natural coolant on scorching summer days.

Ingredients

These are the ingredients you need to prepare homemade yogurt rice:

  • Cooked brown or white basmati rice, at room temperature – 2 cups
  • Whole-milk plain yogurt – 1 ¾ cups
  • Milk – ½ cup
  • Kosher salt – ¼ tsp
  • Cream (fresh or heavy whipping cream), optional – 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Pomegranate arils – ¾ cup
  • Black mustard seeds – ¾ tsp
  • Asafetida powder – ¼ tsp
  • Medium green chile with seeds – ½ to 1
  • Medium fresh curry leaves – 5
  • White gram lentils – 1 tbsp
  • Canola oil – 2 tbsp

How to Make Yogurt Rice?

Cooking Rice:

To start, wash the rice 2-3 times until the water runs clear to remove excess starch, then let the water drain away.

Using a traditional stovetop pressure cooker, cook ½ cup of rice with 1.5 cups of water for 4-5 whistles on medium-low heat. Allow the pressure to release naturally. The rice should be softer than usual when cooked.

In an Instant Pot (Electric Pressure Cooker), cook ½ cup of rice with 1 ½ cups of water using the MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK (High Pressure) setting for 6 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.

On Stovetop Pot: Cook ½ cup rice with 1 ½ cups water on medium-low heat on stovetop until done, then allow to cool slightly.

Prepare the Cooked Rice

After the pressure naturally releases, mash the rice well with your hands or fork or masher. This helps to make curd rice creamy. Make sure no lumps are formed. If you forget to mash the rice, it might end up being too firm once you mix in the yogurt.

Add pre-boiled and cooled whole milk into the mashed rice. This step keeps the curd rice fresh when made ahead. I strongly advised not to skip adding milk. Stir thoroughly, and feel free to add more milk if needed.

Afterwards, make sure to thoroughly cool the rice. If not, the whey might separate when you mix it with the hot yogurt.

Making Yogurt Rice

Once the rice cools down a bit or reaches room temperature, take a medium bowl. In it, combine fresh yogurt (curd) and salt. Then, add pomegranate arils and mix everything thoroughly.

You can add 2 to 3 tbsp of heavy cream, although it’s not mandatory. This will lend a delightful richness and creaminess to the curd rice.. Again mix everything well and set aside.

Tempering (Tadka) for Curd Rice:

Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the lentils and and saute until the dal turns light brown, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low. Add the mustard seeds andstir until you hear a popping sound, then add the chile, curry leaves and asafetida powder and saute for 30 seconds. Mix and turn off the flame.

Pour the tempering over the curd rice mixture. Mix everything well with a spoon. Garnish with additional fried curry leaves and pomegranate arils , if desired.

Serve authentic curd rice at room temperature or chilled and enjoy with pickle and papad. 

What to Serve with Yogurt Rice?

Yogurt rice pairs well with various South Indian side dishes like pickle, papadum, and coconut chutney. It can also be served alongside vegetable curries or fried items like vada (savory fritters). The versatility of yogurt rice makes it a great accompaniment to a variety of dishes.

If you are serving kids, then skip adding green chilies. It tastes great when served chilled, and you can pack it for the adults or school lunch box too.

Storage Suggestions

  • Fridge: Yogurt Rice (or curd rice), keep it in an airtight container for 1-2 days. If it’s too thick, consider adding a bit of milk or water.
  • Freezer: I wouldn’t suggest freezing the yogurt rice because it tends to separate when you thaw it.
  • Reheating: Yogurt rice is best enjoyed at room temperature or cold; avoid heating it to prevent yogurt from potentially breaking down and curdling.

Top Tips

Here are a few tips for making the best yogurt rice recipe

  • Slightly overcook the rice: I enjoy intentionally overcooking rice with extra water, resulting in a soft and creamy curd rice.
  • Don’t mix yogurt with hot rice: Ensure the rice is properly cooled before adding the yogurt; otherwise, it may curdle.
  • Use high-quality yogurt: For the best outcome, opt for fresh homemade yogurt. Avoid using sour yogurt.
  • Use freshly cooked rice: Freshly cooked rice elevates the flavor of curd rice more than leftover rice does.
  • Avoid sourness: To prevent curd rice from turning sour when making it ahead, be sure to include some milk.

Variations

  • Vegetables: You can enhance the flavor and nutrition by adding grated carrots, finely chopped raw mango, cucumber, bottle gourd, as well as grapes and pomegranates. These additions contribute both taste and texture to the dish.
  • Vegan curd Rice: You can opt for almond milk yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, or cashew yogurt to make a vegan-friendly curd rice.
  • Other Grains: You can substitute rice with brown rice, quinoa, broken wheat, millets, vermicelli, couscous, poha, or keto cauliflower rice.
  • Cooking Oil: Canola oil can be substituted for olive oil in the tempering.

FAQs

Is yogurt rice healthy?

Yes, yogurt rice has several health benefits. It is a good source of protein, calcium, fats and is rich in antioxidants. It also has
friendly probiotic bacteria that help in digestion and maintain good bowel movements.

Can I eat yogurt rice daily?

Yes, the curd has probiotic goodness and cooling properties which is good for the tummy.

Can I heat Indian yogurt rice? 

Yogurt rice is best enjoyed cold or at room temperature. When it is heated or warmed, friendly probiotic bacteria present in it are destroyed. Also, yogurt may likely break down and curdle.

Recipe Card

Yogurt Rice

Yogurt Rice | How to Make Yogurt Rice

This Yogurt Rice, or "curd rice" is a simple, soothing South Indian dish. It's made from cooked rice, yogurt, and Indian spices. You can enhance it with various ingredients like pomegranate arils, fried ginger, cucumber, and dried hot chiles. Some prefer fresh green chiles, while others insist on red ones. Enjoy it with mango pickle for the best flavor.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 199 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups Cooked brown or white basmati rice, at room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cups Whole-milk plain yogurt
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ¼ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 tbsp Cream (fresh or heavy whipping cream), optional
  • ¾ cup Pomegranate arils
  • ¾ tsp Black mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp Asafetida powder
  • ½ to 1 Medium green chile with seeds
  • 5 Medium fresh curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp White gram lentils
  • 2 tbsp Canola oil

Instructions
 

Cooking Rice:

  • To start, wash the rice 2-3 times until the water runs clear to remove excess starch, then let the water drain away.
  • Using a traditional stovetop pressure cooker, cook ½ cup of rice with 1.5 cups of water for 4-5 whistles on medium-low heat. Allow the pressure to release naturally. The rice should be softer than usual when cooked.
  • In an Instant Pot (Electric Pressure Cooker), cook ½ cup of rice with 1 ½ cups of water using the MANUAL/PRESSURE COOK (High Pressure) setting for 6 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
  • On Stovetop Pot: Cook ½ cup rice with 1 ½ cups water on medium-low heat on stovetop until done, then allow to cool slightly.

Prepare the Cooked Rice

  • After the pressure naturally releases, mash the rice well with your hands or fork or masher. This helps to make curd rice creamy. Make sure no lumps are formed. If you forget to mash the rice, it might end up being too firm once you mix in the yogurt.
  • Add pre-boiled and cooled whole milk into the mashed rice. This step keeps the curd rice fresh when made ahead. I strongly advised not to skip adding milk. Stir thoroughly, and feel free to add more milk if needed.
  • Afterwards, make sure to thoroughly cool the rice. If not, the whey might separate when you mix it with the hot yogurt.

Making Yogurt Rice

  • Once the rice cools down a bit or reaches room temperature, take a medium bowl. In it, combine fresh yogurt (curd) and salt. Then, add pomegranate arils and mix everything thoroughly.
  • You can add 2 to 3 tbsp of heavy cream, although it's not mandatory. This will lend a delightful richness and creaminess to the curd rice.. Again mix everything well and set aside.

Tempering (Tadka) for Curd Rice:

  • Heat canola oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the lentils and saute until the dal turns light brown, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low. Add the mustard seeds and stir until you hear a popping sound, then add the chili, curry leaves and asafetida powder and saute for 30 seconds. Mix and turn off the flame.
  • Pour the tempering over the curd rice mixture. Mix everything well with a spoon. Garnish with additional fried curry leaves and pomegranate arils , if desired.
  • Serve authentic curd rice at room temperature or chilled and enjoy with pickle and papad. 

Notes

  • Slightly overcook the rice: I enjoy intentionally overcooking rice with extra water, resulting in soft and creamy curd rice.
  • Don’t mix yogurt with hot rice: Ensure the rice is properly cooled before adding the yogurt; otherwise, it may curdle.
  • Use high-quality yogurt: For the best outcome, opt for fresh homemade yogurt. Avoid using sour yogurt.
  • Use freshly cooked rice: Freshly cooked rice elevates the flavor of curd rice more than leftover rice does.
  • Avoid sourness: To prevent curd rice from turning sour when making it ahead, be sure to include some milk.

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