Sunday, 17 August 2014

For the love of curd rice!

For those of you who have not tasted curd rice, or who do not like the taste of it, my apologies.

Curd rice is an integral part of a south Indian’s meal. On most hot afternoons, it is a complete meal! When you cannot afford a grand meal curd rice will keep you in good stead. If you have tons of money to waste, you can spend money in decorating the curd rice with fruits and nuts.

When you want to celebrate with friends or relatives, call them home to a fun-filled dinner or lunch and end it with curd rice! In all probabilities, your south-Indian friends will attack that section, as though they had never eaten curd rice in all their lives!

I lived in a hostel for a couple of years, when I moved to Mumbai with a job. In spite of choosing a hostel in a south Indian dominated part of Mumbai, they served no curd or very little curd in the hostel. My grief knew no bounds. I was joined by my country cousins who shared my grief. We tried trading the dal for an additional cup of curd. The mess in-charge was smarter!

We tested our negotiation skills with other non-South Indian hostel-mates. Though they initially obliged, in the long run a bigger cup of yellow coloured hot water was no match for a very tiny cup of thick curd!

Finally, we all decided to pool-in our resources. The tiny cups of curd were emptied into a bigger cup. To this we added water and salt and mixed them into an almost homogenous mixture. For some time we were happy with the arrangement.

Unfortunately, some of the girls in our group moved to a different hostel (as the other hostel was serving better curd and in good quantity!) and our arrangement did not last.

When my room-mate and I discussed the problem in office during break time, some of our colleagues, who were localites, suggested that we should visit a restaurant named ‘Gita Bhawan’.

“You girls must try out Gita Bhawan. I hear that they serve curd rice,” one of them said. Both of us looked at each other and the expression of relief on our faces took the others by surprise.

“But visit the place only during day time. The road from your hostel to Gita Bhawan is not the safest,” they warned!

Never take curd rice for granted!

We had to wait for the week to end. On the Saturday that followed, both of us eagerly waited for the clock to announce the arrival of noon. We set out, on foot, to Gita Bhawan. We placed our orders and waited eagerly for the curd rice to arrive.

When it did arrive, it was well worth the wait and our months of agony and grief vanished instantly. Though we could have it only during weekends, our happiness was immeasurable.

Only a lover of curd rice would know what it meant to be deprived of it for months!

Author’s note: 

Here is a quick guide to making good curd rice:

Cook rice with half a cup extra water. Once the rice is completely cooked, mash it up with a heavy spoon. Add freshly boiled milk and mix completely. Loosen it with thick curd (you can add half a cup of water, if required). Add salt and asafoetida powder.

You can garnish it with mint, coriander and curry leaves. In a small pan heat some oil. Add mustard and jeera seeds and allow them to splutter. Then add finely chopped ginger and green chillies and fry for about 30 seconds. Mix this with the rice.

You may also add green gram (soaked overnight) and pomegranates to add health, colour and taste to the already yummy curd rice. If you are in a mood for some crime, fry some raisins and cashew nuts and add to the rice. 

If you feel that your curd rice is incomplete with only white and green, try adding some grated carrots. Show off your love for your country along with the love for your curd rice!

Leave the rice for 2-3 hours or till adequately fermented.

For happiness and health!

Serve with pickle, finely chopped onions and happiness!