Curd or yogurt rice is a popular South Indian comfort meal made with soft cooked rice, mixed yogurt, and tempered with spices. This recipe needs only a few ingredients and it's ok if you do not have some ingredients, like hing or curry leaves. The final dish will still be equally delicious.
This dish is known as Thayir Saddam or Daddojanam in Southern India. There, priests often offer curd rice to devotees in temples as prasadam (blessed food). I first ate this dish at the Flushing Hindu Temple in Queens New York 20 years ago, and I loved the soft cooked rice mildly spiced with fresh ginger and chilies.
Since then, my friend Indu has served this delicious dish several times at her home. Finally, I decided to learn the dish from her who is a pro at South Indian cooking. Her Bisi Bele Bhath recipe is to die for and I am so happy to have the easy Instant pot version that we enjoy often. If you have The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook try the Ven Pongal and Sweet Pongal recipes. I learned them from Indu's mother-in-law, the ultimate expert in South Indian food.
- For the best taste, serve curd rice at room temperature
- If you plan to make this dish ahead or make extra servings like I often do, take it out of the refrigerator an hour before eating
- Stir in few tablespoons of warm milk to bring it to room temp faster
- Instead of cooking rice in just water, substitute half of the water with milk. Cooking rice in half water and half milk makes this dish creamier
- Urad Daal can be skipped or substituted with cashews
- Curry leaves are not the same as curry powder, so if you do not have curry leaves you can skip them
- While you can add more green chilies for the spicier dish, you can also skip them for a mild yogurt rice
Here is my detailed Step by step Yogurt Rice recipe with photos:
Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and heat oil. Add mustard seeds and allow them to pop, this takes 2 to 3 minutes. Add hing and urad daal. Cook for another minute as the daal turns golden brown. Turn the saute mode off and add green chilies, curry leaves, and ginger. Stir for a minute and then take the tempering out in a bowl and reserve. Rinse and drain the rice. Add rice and water to the Instant Pot insert (photos 1 - 4).
Close the lid with pressure release valve to sealing. Press the rice button and allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Open the Instant Pot and take the rice out in a serving bowl and allow the rice to cool down. Once the rice is lukewarm, mash it with the back of a spatula and then stir in yogurt, water, and salt. Mix well. Stir in the reserved tempering and mix well.
Enjoy at room temperature or chilled with your choice of topping.
Here are few ideas on how to serve Curd Rice:
- With crunchy toppings such as pomegranate seeds, diced cucumbers, sliced grapes, or grated carrots
- With Indian spicy pickles and roasted papad (lentil crackers)
- Bowl of hot sambar
- Sauteed veggies or South Indian Veg Kurma
- I would highly recommend serving this dish at room temperature but many people also enjoy this dish chilled
What is the best rice for Curd Rice
Any short-grain rice works well. We tried this recipe with Sona Masoori, Kali Jeera, and Ambe Mor rice. All the 3 kinds of rice cook soft and mushy, just the texture needed for this dish. Indian grocery stores would be the best place to buy these short-grain rice varieties. Sona Masoori variety is also available on Amazon and also many Costco locations.
Do I need Instant Pot to make Yogurt Rice?
You do not need Instant Pot for this recipe. You can cook rice on a stovetop or a rice cooker, make the tempering of spices in a small pan on the stovetop, and follow the rest of the recipe.
Best Instant Pot setting for Rice
Although white rice cooks well in 4 to 6 minutes of high-pressure setting, I prefer cooking rice for this recipe using the "Rice" option on the Instant Pot. The low-pressure, 12-minute program cooks the rice light and fluffy hence works best for making yogurt rice.
Can I use premade white rice for this recipe?
Absolutely. You can use pre made rice or even left over rice for this recipe.
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- 1 cup rice sona masoori or other short grain white rice
- 3¼ cup water
- 3 cups yogurt full fat suggested
- ½ cup water to stir in along with yogurt
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt add more if required
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 cucumber diced
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 carrot grated
- 1 cup grapes sliced
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and heat oil. Add mustard seeds and allow them to pop, this may take 2 to 3 minutes. Add hing and urad daal. Cook for another minute as the daal turns golden brown. Turn the saute mode off and add green chilies, curry leaves and ginger. Stir for a minute and then take the tempering out in a bowl and reserve.
- Rinse and drain the rice. Add rice and water to the Instant Pot insert. Close the lid with pressure release valve to sealing. Press the rice button and allow 10 minutes natural pressure release.
- Open the Instant Pot and take the rice out in a serving bowl and allow the rice to cool down.
- Once the rice is luke warm, mash it with the back of a spatula and then stir in yogurt, water and salt. Mix well. Stir in the reserved tempering and mix well. Enjoy warm with your choice of topping.
- To make yogurt rice creamier, substitute half of the water with milk.
- Urad Daal can be skipped or substituted with cashews.
- Curry leaves are not the same as curry powder, so if you do not have curry leaves you can skip them.
- While you can add more green chilies for the spicier taste, you can also skip them for mild yogurt rice.