Several years ago, I did a story for the New York Times. The story focused on how money coming into the Indian economy was changing the way Indians cook, eat and buy food products. I remember the lead -”YOGURT hasn’t traditionally been a source of family tension among the Indian middle class. But things have changed in this most traditionbound of countries.”Much to my mother’s chagrin I use store-bought yogurt,” said Rujuta Jog, 24, a recently married office worker.”
Check out my story on how to make your own yogurt here and how to cook amazing recipes with it – from yogurt rice, to raita to kebabs – all on NPR’s Kitchen Window.. my favorite spot to write for.
Now, make this recipe.. one of my favs. The photo is by the terrific Sala Kannan. I dont know how she does it. She makes my work glow!
Makes 6 servings, 1/2 cup per person
2 cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, whipped
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup diced green mango
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
2 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 whole dried red chilies, any size
15 to 20 curry leaves (available at Indian markets)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
1/4 cup unsalted raw cashews
Rinse rice at least twice, until the water runs clear. Drain well.
Bring rice and 4 cups fresh water to a boil in a deep saucepan. Add salt and oil. Reduce heat to low and loosely cover. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, until all the water has been absorbed. You will see small craters forming on top of the rice.
Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.
Combine rice with the yogurt, buttermilk, green mango and cilantro. Mix well and place in a serving bowl.
Heat clarified butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add mustard seeds. When they begin to sputter, in quick succession, add the chilies, curry leaves, ginger and cashews. Mix well. Saute 1 minute, until the cashews begin to brown.
Pour spice mixture over the rice. Serve immediately.