Friday, March 30, 2012

Curd rice philosophy

In South India, there is a phenomenon called curd rice. It is, in this part of the world, the ultimate comfort food. It is also a typical summer food. The perfect end to an elaborate elai saapadu [banana leaf meal, is the best translation I can think of!]

I could go on and on about curd rice, but it would just cement my place in my friends’ opinions as my being too tam brahm. Not that I care. Because anyone who has issues with curd rice, barring the lactose intolerant, are just plain strange to be honest.

How can people who have issues with curd rice be strange? Aren’t you being too judgmental? Well, here’s a fun fact – people who don’t like curd rice ARE strange and I AM being too judgmental.

Have you ever eaten curd rice? The many variations of curd rice? Warm, cold, with chilies and ginger; with grapes, chillies, onions and ginger; tempered with mustard seeds and dried red chilies. If you have, then you should know that it is the most awesome thing that someone decided to come up with and popularize!

See, this is what happens. You take a little rice, preferably overcooked so you can make it all mushy. You make a tiny well in that baby mound of rice, you pour some runny curd into it and mix it all up. After that’s done, you glop some mango pickle on. The spicy, amazing, South Indian kind. And then you eat it. You brain will explode in amazement and your soul will finally achieve what it has been seeking for all this time – a measure of contentment. Because, that is the amazing nature of curd rice, it is a spiritual kind of food. I will not draw comparisons or even equate it to meat of any kind. Curd rice is a category unto itself. That’s what I love about it.

You can eat it after shoving vast quantities of meat down your gullet, and know that your stomach is thanking you for it.

It’s summer in Madras, and curd rice is going to be my staple for the next four months. I cannot imagine the joys that await me. Such pure, undiluted joy.

Don’t you love food and the simple ways in which it makes life better?


  1. Omg! Totally and completely a resounding YES to all of the above!

    Even though I am a Kannada Brahm LOL! Ah the amazement called curd rice!

  2. And cashews too. Never forget cashews!

  3. Boston - Exactly, the amazement called curd rice indeed!

    Vrinda - of course cashews! :)

  4. And most importantly- curd rice is good for hangovers!

  5. The best. Top it off with a glass of buttermilk and system is back to normal. I <3 curd rice!

  6. Honestly,I used to hate the sight of curd .My family and friends used to make fun of me.So I decided to give raita(curd with onions, tomatoes, cucumber and indian masalas)a try and I was amazed how good it was.Now after reading ur article I feel I should give curd rice a try.