South Indian Yogurt Rice
1 cup dry basmati rice, cooked al dente
2 cups plain yogurt
½ cup milk
1 serrano pepper, sliced thin
1 dried red chili, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp roasted cashews
½ piece of ginger, diced
15 curry leaves (substitute 6-8 bay leaves if needed)
1 tsp salt
Pinch of asafoetida / hing
Let the cooked rice stand uncovered and steam off for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork and then pour the milk over the rice. Let it sit, stirring occasionally, until the rice has cooled down to room temperature. Once it has cooled, stir in the yogurt and let it sit in the fridge while you complete the other steps.
Heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the dried red chili, serrano pepper, and mustard seeds. Stir frequently, reducing the heat to medium low. Toast for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
Add the ginger, curry leaves, and cashews and stir briefly to combine. Remove from the heat.
Scrape the spiced oil into the yogurt rice and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Also known as curd rice, this cold, creamy rice dish is very aromatic and spice-forward. This recipe lists a specific combination of spices, but feel free to use whatever is on hand. The spices are fried in oil to extract their flavor compounds, while the creaminess of the yogurt balances the heat of the chilis and allows you to taste their fresher notes. This is better after it is refrigerated overnight and served the next day.