Curd rice is a South Indian dish made with precooked rice, Curd (Indian Yogurt) herbs & tempering spices. It is more often eaten by South Indians as a part of the meal, all round the year. Apart from being gut healthy, Curd rice is also a comforting summer food which keeps the body cool. Everyone has their own favorite way of enjoying curd rice. A lot of people eat it alongside Podi, papad, Pickle & some love to top it with pomegranate arils or raw cucumber & onions. At home we love to serve it with this simple refreshing Vegetable Salad.
About Curd Rice
Curd Rice is a South Indian dish where soft cooked mushy rice is simply mixed with curd (Indian yogurt) and salt. It is later finished off with a flavorful tempering made with basic whole spices & curry leaves. Optionally garnished with some coriander leaves.
Curd rice is also known as Thayir sadam in Tamil & Daddojanam in Telugu. It is a traditional food and is offered to the Hindu gods during pooja. Apart from the households, you will also see this being offered in many South Indian Temples which is later distributed among the devotees as prasadam.
Most South Indian homes make this with fresh cooked rice & homemade curd or yogurt. However it can also be made with store bought yogurt or even with plant based yogurt like this Almond yogurt. If you are newbie you may refer this post to make Homemade curd.
There are 2 different ways yogurt rice is made. One is the home style & the other one is the temple style. In home style preparation, the regular tempering spices, red chilies & green chilies are used. Where as for the temple style the ingredients are different & the method as well.
You can check this Temple style daddojanam recipe we make during summers or for naivedyam, lunch box or travel. It is different from the one shared here. The recipe shared here in this post is how we make curd rice at home on regular days.
1. Always use fresh cooked & cooled rice. Avoid using stale or leftover rice either from the fridge or cooked on the previous day. It is very unhealthy to eat such rice as it contains bacteria.
2. For healthier whole grain option, use brown rice or any whole grains mixed with regular rice. You can use even millets, steel cut oats, rolled oats, or even broken wheat to make this dish.
3. Make sure the grains are soft cooked and mashed well before adding the curd to it. The rice turns hard when curd is added to it without mashing well.
4. Do not add cold yogurt to hot rice as the curd may coagulate. According to Ayurveda adding cold curd to hot rice causes vata dosha & can lead to imbalances in the body. So ensure the rice is fully cooled before mixing with curd.
1. Curd rice is considered to be a super food by many south Indians as it easily fulfills the daily nutritional requirements of the body. As curd is high in calcium, protein & other nutrients it is consumed regularly.
2. Traditionally curdrice was consumed regularly during summers to prevent sunstroke & beat the summer heat. Yogurt or curd is considered as a natural coolant & brings down the body temperature.
3. Eating this with raw onions & cucumbers helps to bring down the body heat and improves the digestion.
4. It is also believed that seasoning the thayir sadam with oil, ginger, chilli & spices nullifies the cooling nature of the curd.
So traditionally it was tempered during monsoons & winters. The tempering is avoided and served just with raw onions & cucumbers during summer.
How to Make Curd Rice (Stepwise photos)
1. Add half cup rice to a pressure cooker or a bowl. You can use only white rice. I prefer to use matta rice / brown rice and white rice in equal proportions. This is one good way to include brown rice in the diet.
Using all brown rice also yields good curd rice. You can even add a handful of millets or replace brown rice with millets or even with quinoa.
2. Wash the rice a few times and drain the water completely. I usually soak for about 20 to 30 minutes. Pour 1 ½ cups fresh water and ½ teaspoon salt or as needed.
3. I cook the rice directly in the pressure cooker on a medium heat for 1 to 2 whistles. If you are cooking in a bowl pressure cook on a medium flame for 3 whistles. This may vary depending on the brand of cooker you own. If cooking in a Instant pot, pour 1 cup water to the steel insert. Place the bowl inside and pressure cook for 10 mins. We need to soft cook the rice.
Prepare cooked Rice
4. When the pressure releases naturally, mash the rice well. Many people prefer to mash it well to make it creamy. If you do not mash the rice, it will turn hard after adding curd.
Optional Tip: If you are making this to serve later – say after few hours, then pour ¼ cup preboiled milk to the mashed rice. This keeps your curd rice fresh without becoming sour. Don’t worry you won’t get the smell of milk at all as the milk becomes curd in an hour or so.
Cool the rice completely. Adding curd to hot rice will coagulate the curd and separate whey. So cool it completely.
5. Add 1 cup fresh curd to the rice. Mix until just combined. Add more or less curd to bring the yogurt rice to consistency. I add another half cup while mixing. If you are using Greek yogurt or yogurt made with toned milk or buffalo milk, you can add some yogurt whey or water as it will be too thick.
Temper Yogurt Rice
6. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan. Add half teaspoon mustard, half teaspoon cumin (optional), 8 cashews, 1 teaspoon chana dal, 1 teaspoon urad dal & 1 broken dried red chilli. Fry them until the dal turns golden. Then add the 1 chopped green chilli, curry leaves & half teaspoon grated ginger.
The curry leaves will turn crisp then add hing. Turn off the stove. If using grated bottle gourd, add it to the pan and saute for a minute.
7. Add carrots and coriander leaves if using. Then pour the tempering over the curd rice. Stir well. Taste test and add more salt if required.
1. How to prevent whey getting separated in curd rice or thayir sadam?
Most often when thayir sadam is packed in box after a few hours whey separates and the rice looks very unpleasant. Here are the tips you can follow to avoid that
- Most often whey separates if the hot rice is mixed with cold curd. so add curd only when the rice is cooled completely.
- Follow this step if you are making thayir sadam ahead of time and packing it for office or school box. Mash the rice well when it is still hot. Pour milk little by little to the hot rice and mash until all the milk has been absorbed.
- Then add curd & mix. Do not add hot tempering to yogurt rice or thayir sadam.
2. How to avoid curd rice from turning sour?
Curd rice turns sour during summer if you make it ahead. So adding some milk to the rice will prevent the curd from turning sour. You don’t need to refrigerate. The tempering with ginger, oil & spices will keep it fresh for a couple of hours.
3. Can you feed this to babies & toddlers?
Most south Indian mothers feed their babies yogurt & rice after 9 months. Just puree the rice & yogurt together in a blender. You can serve this as a breakfast or lunch for 2 to 3 times a week. Avoid during monsoons and winters. This is best during summers. Please consult your doctor before you introduce.
If you have a toddler who loves yogurt, you can feed this 4 to 5 times in a week. Grate some veggies like carrots & cucumber over the rice. You can also sprinkle some podi or stir fried veggies.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup rice (or ¼ cup white rice ¼ cup brown rice or millets)
- 1½ cup water
- 1 to 1½ cup curd (yogurt) (or more)
- salt as needed
- 2 tablespoon carrot grated
- 2 tablespoon cucumber grated (or bottle gourd)
- 1 teaspoon coriander leaves finely chopped (optional)
To temper curd rice
- 1 teaspoon oil
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera) (optional)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon chana dal (optional)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
- 1 dried red chilli broken
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
- ½ teaspoon ginger minced or crushed
- 1 green chili slit or chopped (optional)
- 6 to 8 roasted cashews split or chopped (optional)
- Add rice to a bowl and rinse it well a few times. Then pour 1½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt. Keep it in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook rice for 3 whistles until soft. You can also cook the rice directly in the cooker for 2 whistles.
- When the pressure releases, remove the rice & mash it lightly. You can also fluff up & use if you do not like mushy rice. If you prefer to use milk, refer my notes below. Cool it completely.
- Add curd to cooled rice. Mix well until combined. If you have cooked the rice without salt, then add it now.
- Stir in coriander leaves, grated carrots and cucumbers to the curd rice. Taste the curd rice & add more salt if needed.
How to make Curd Rice
- Heat oil in a pan. Then add cumin & mustard. When they begin to splutter, add red chilli, chana dal, urad dal & cashews if using. Fry until the dal turns golden.
- Add ginger, green chili and curry leaves.
- When the curry leaves turn crisp, add hing and turn off the stove. If using bottle gourd, add it to the hot seasoning and stir.
- Pour the tempering to the curd rice and mix. South Indian style curd rice is ready.
- Garnish with pomegranate seeds.
- You can replace white rice with brown rice, steel cut oats, rolled oats or millets. If using brown rice, soak it well for a few hours before cooking.
- You can also use ¼ cup hot milk. Pour the hot milk to the hot mashed rice and mix it. You won’t smell the milk in the curd rice at all if you serve it after few hours as the milk becomes curd within this time.
- Milk also prevents the curd rice from turning sour even when kept for long hours.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Curd rice recipe first published in March 2015. Updated in February 2022.
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
Follow Swasthi’s Recipes