Home is where... the "tayir chaadam" isHave you faced ridicule for being a 'curd-rice' aficionado? I have. As with many things, such discrimination is based on a lack of understanding of the immense joy that the simple mixture of curd and rice (and we're not even getting into other culinary accessories) can bring. If only we Curdistanis had been a little more savvy, the book would have been Curd Rice for the Soul.
A simple recipe for curd rice (or tayir chaadam for those of us in the know):
Ingredients: curd, riceMind you, I'm not one of those who has to eat curd-rice each meal, each day. There are days when I don't need to eat it after a bunch of chapaatiis or even if I've had a Bangladesh-worth of rice before (I know it's a shock revelation: will the rest of the Curdistanis retract my membership for this?). But when the stomach needs calm after a night spent among warring spices, I turn to the bowl of tayir in the fridge. Or on days when I don't feel in the mood for food. The curd is willing to be friends with all kinds of rice and is happy to share the plate with any cast, ranging from sambaars and rasams, kuuTTus and bhaajiis, a mere pickle perhaps, or even mixed fruit jam. It is very democratic and adjusting, and is unmindful of those who steal its thunder.
Directions: pour curd on rice. Mix (can use fingers) well. Welcome to curd rice.
Or you could just put a touch of salt and have nothing else (I'd recommend warm rice with this). You don't have to pamper your curd rice. But it's good to show your appreciation once in a while. Put in a taDkaa of mustard seeds (my cousin calls this "the spotted tayir chaadam") and some chopped green chillies.
Unfortunately, those who eat curd rice in hotels (and worse, sing praises) eat some vilaayati show-off cousin which always has a bunch of masaale and onions and what-not. They know not that moms make the best curd rice at the home kitchen, even if it seems to demand very little of their fabulous culinary skills. What's useful is that you can whip it up too yourself and be guaranteed of some satisfying success. Many's a person who goes home after his five-course meal and has "konjam tayir chaadam" to round the day off. And well known is the plight of the wedding guest, who despite having battled rivers of rasam and paayasam, is still easily tempted into turning it into a Pyrrhic victory by the mesmerising thick curd on rice with that last bit of uurgaai that will clear the banana leaf.
Finally, despite the teasing about curd rice, I never wavered. You could always go back to it and never be disappointed. In the short docu-film of daily life, it is a happy ending. (Apologies, but I have to wrap this up now for drool has engulfed my desk. And I have not had lunch.)
And earlier on SEvai