Would you believe me if I said curd was my salvation when I was a little girl?
I used to be a problem eater. I was very fussy. I hated anything slimy, which meant I hated eggplant and lady fingers. I hated anything black, which meant I wouldn't eat chicken drumsticks cos they had those dark red veins that looked black. I hated fish and prawns which was quite a big problem because often, I'd find myself having to sit for hours at the dinner table ... long after everyone else had finished their meal. I'd stare stubbornly at my fish, hoping my mum would take pity on me and tell me I could be excused from the dinner table.
But, apparently I inherited my stubbornness form her. She refused to let me off easy.
Thank goodness for curd. I finally discovered that fish could be tolerable if I drowned it with curd mixed with tomato sauce. It was yummy. I dare say that the pink 'sauce' was my ingenious creation and it helped mask any flavour I didn't fancy.
Thank goodness also that curd was a staple at all our meals. Well, except for the Western dinners of chicken chop and chips and such, of course.
Understandably, I still love curd. How could I not?
Funnily enough, I never tried curd rice until I was in my twenties. I was in university and one day my friend offered to share her homemade lunch with me. Her mum had made some curd rice and had packed it for her. The curd was special as it was made with buffalo milk. If you've never tried buffalo milk-curd, it is divine. It has a higher fat content (its also richer in minerals and vitamins) and is therefore thicker, creamier and tastier. Yumm.
There was no turning back.
(If you aren't a fan of yoghurt I suggest you skip this post because there is going to be a lot of curd love going on. Lots of gushing)
Curd rice is awesome (see what I mean about gushing?). It's kinda like rice drowned in yoghurt and seasoned with chillies, spices and dhal. It's a little salty, a little sour and a little spicy. It's soft but the addition of toasted dhal adds some crunch to the mush.
It's comfort food. It can be eaten hot or cold. It can be eaten on its own or with some spicy Indian pickle. I like mine on its own as I am not a fan of pickles.
* What determines how good your curd rice is will be, naturally, the quality of your curd. Buffalo milk-curd is not easy to find. Cows milk curd is. I suggest that you strain your cows milk curd in muslin (pour the curd onto a piece of muslin, tie the edges and let the whey drip) so you get really thick curd
1 cup cooked rice (cook your rice with more water so it's a little wet and soft. Some people cook the rice with some milk: 1/2 measure water and 1/2 measure milk.)
1.5 - 2 cups strained curd
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp mustard seed
2 tbsp gingerly oil or ghee or any vegetable oil
1 tbsp channa dhal (you can mix urad and channa dhal)
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and dhal. When the seeds pop, add chillies and ginger and keep on the stove, tossing occassionally, till the dhal gets toasty and browns. Remove from heat and stir into the cooked rice. When well coated, stir in the curd and season with salt.