Learn how to make authentic curd/yogurt Rice, South Indian style by following this easy recipe. Also known as Thayir Sadam or Dahi Bhaat, it's a delicious dish made with yogurt and rice that's easy to digest. The tempering or tadka elevates the flavors. Make it in just 10 minutes if you have cooked rice ready!
South Indian staple food
Curd Rice is one of the staple foods of South Indian cuisine. It is a simple delicious meal made with rice and yogurt with or without a tempering on top. It is also made in other parts of India and it has various names - Thayir (curd) Sadam (rice) in Tamil, Daddojanam in Andhra Pradesh, and Dahi (curd) bhaath/chawal (rice) in Hindi.
The consistency of yogurt rice is like a loose porridge. The gains are not separate like one would want for biryani or pulao. It's more like one homogenous mixture. It's a comfort food that's easy and light on the stomach which is why it is safe for babies as well as elderly people.
South Indian Rice Recipes 🎥
Being a Tamil Brahmin, I have been a fan of thayir sadam all my life! I feel my grandmom made the best curd rice - slightly runny, salty, and refreshing, paired with the tangiest homemade mango pickle! During our summer vacations, we would always visit my mom's maternal house in Trichy and stay there for nearly a month. We would look forward to this trip all year.
I would accompany my aunt (mom's younger sister) who was a teacher, to her school. My granny would pack Thayir sadam with homemade mango pickle and roasted papad. Sitting with her under the shade of a tree, listening to a story as she fed me curd rice is one of the most precious moments that I have shared with my favorite aunt.
Why make this
Indian-style yogurt rice is one of the most preferred meals to pack for lunch, especially during summer.
- Quick, easy, and simple to make
- Great way to use leftover rice
- Safe to eat for toddlers (with reduced spice) as well as the elderly
- Can easily be made vegan and gluten-free
- Packed with flavors
- Calcium, vitamins, and carbs make it a complete meal
- Can be made ahead of time
Many health benefits
Consuming dahi bhaat regularly aids in digestion because it contains probiotics, antioxidants, and beneficial fats. It also helps cool down the body, especially in summer. Ending a meal with a small portion of curd rice every day can work wonders for you. It's generally considered healthy, and safe to consume when you have stomach upset, acidity, or digestion problems. It also helps with weight loss and induces sleep.
Ingredients needed 🧾
Curd, Dahi, or yogurt - Use homemade plain and unsweetened curd for this recipe. You can also use the Desi Dahi brand that you get at Indian grocery stores. Homemade Indian curd is the best for this recipe. It should be fresh and not taste sour. You can also use regular or Greek yogurt. Just thin it down a bit by adding little water.
Buttermilk can also be used. Read my notes below to see what to use if you are vegan. Note - While both Curd and Yogurt contain probiotic bacteria, the quantity of bacteria in Yogurt is higher as compared to Curd. You can use either of them in this recipe. The curd or yogurt can be made using full-fat milk or you can use fat-free or 2%.
Rice - Any variety will work in this dahi bhaat recipe. Use Sona Masoori, Surti Kolam, Basmati, or even Jasmine rice. You can either cook it fresh or use leftover cooked rice in this recipe. In fact, in our homes, we always use leftovers. If cooking it fresh, then overcook it a bit.
Milk - Not many are aware that we also add whole milk to our yogurt rice. Milk adds flavor, prevents it from turning too sour or tangy, and helps it last longer.
Spices - Green chilies, black mustard seeds, urad dal, fresh curry leaves, cilantro or coriander leaves, and asafoetida (skip or use gluten-free asafoetida to make this recipe gluten-free) are some other basic ingredients that will add so much flavor to this recipe.
Some also like to add pomegranate arils, carrots, cucumber, and/or onions to this rice and yogurt dish. But I usually make it without these ingredients.
Oil for tadka - You can use any vegetable oil, coconut oil, or ghee for tempering.
How to make it 🔪
- The first step is to cook rice. You can either cook it fresh or use leftovers. Then transfer the lukewarm rice to a mixing bowl. Mash it slightly.
- Add yogurt to the bowl. You may or may not whisk it before adding it. Then pour milk into the bowl and add salt.
- Heat oil in a tadka pan (some also like to use ghee), temper mustard seeds, and urad dal and asafoetida. Then add finely chopped cilantro, green chillies, and curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds and then pour this tadka over the prepared yogurt rice.
- Mix it all together. We mix it by hand as that makes a lump-free, homogenous mixture. But if you're not comfortable, use a spoon. Then store it in the fridge till it's time to serve.
Serving suggestions 🍽
Dahi Bhaat tastes best when served cold or at room temperature. Do not heat or warm it as it can break down the curd, destroy the friendly bacteria and affect the texture. In a South Indian household, Thayir sadam is usually the last thing we eat at lunch or dinner. It helps with digestion. It's mostly eaten with an Indian pickle on the side.
However, we also eat thayir sadam as a meal. KR likes to have some fried mor milagai on the side. He swears by this combination. Do try it. You can also serve it with some sambhar, rasam, or dal along with Potato Fry. We go for thayir sadam if we have had a heavy meal before or have come home after a vacation.
In fact, it is also a great food for road trips. Pack it in airtight containers and take it with you on the go! Also serve it for lunch, dinner, or brunch. Thayir sadam is also offered as prasadam in temples and during festivals like Janmashtami. To make temple-style thayir sadam, use freshly cooked rice and not leftovers.
Top recipe tips 💭
Since this dish is often served chilled. You can use chilled yogurt, and milk straight from the fridge. Don't skip the tempering. It adds so much flavor. Even if you are cooking rice fresh, overcook it a bit and cool it down completely before adding chilled yogurt and milk. If you don't then it will kill the live cultures in the curd.
Use evaporated milk instead of regular milk for a more creamy texture. If you want a quick fix, enjoy it without the tadka. It will taste plain but still delicious enough! The ratio of milk will depend on how sour the curd is. You can also add milk to adjust the consistency of the curd rice. Skip milk and add water instead if you want.
Feel free to add more veggies to this Dahi Bhat like grated carrots, onions, ginger, and cucumbers. Some also add cashews, coconut, pomegranates, raw mango, and other fruits to the curd rice mixture. I have shared a basic thayir sadam recipe, you can customize it based on your preference.
Recipe FAQs 📖
If you want to experiment, make this curd rice recipe using brown rice, semiya, oats, millets like quinoa, or even cauliflower rice. I am yet to try these but I know for sure that they will alter the taste.
You can definitely make dahi chawal in advance and store it in the fridge. Before serving, add some more yogurt, milk, or water to loosen it. The tadka can be added just before serving or you can store it with the tadka done.
For those who are vegan, you can definitely make Dahi bhaat dairy-free. Use any unsweetened plain vegan almond milk yogurt and oat or cashew milk.
I have made it using these ingredients and it tastes good. Do not skip the tempering part as it gives it a nice earthy flavor. In fact, I have shared the vegan curd rice recipe in my cookbook.
You can very well make it in the Instant Pot. Add oil and do the tadka in saute mode. Then add the washed rice and cook it in rice or manual mode for 5 minutes. Release pressure manually, turn off the Instant Pot, and let it cool down. Then add curd, milk, salt, and cilantro. Mix it all well together and store it in the fridge till it's needed. You can also do the tadka separately and add it along with the curd at the end.
South Indian rice recipes
I have shared an Instagram reel video on how to make yogurt rice. You can check it out here.
Did you try this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out by leaving a comment below or sharing a picture on Instagram @cookilicious with the hashtag #cookiliciousveg. I love hearing your feedback!
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Curd Rice Recipe | Thayir Sadam | Dahi Bhaat
- The first step is to cook rice. You can either cook it fresh or use leftover rice. Then transfer the lukewarm rice to a mixing bowl. Mash it slightly.
- Add yogurt to the bowl. You may or may not whisk it before adding. Then pour milk into the bowl and add salt.
- Heat oil in a tadka pan, temper mustard seeds, and urad dal and asafoetida. Then add cilantro, green chillies and curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds and then pour this tadka over the rice.
- Mix it all together. We mix it by hand as that makes a lump-free, homogenous mixture. But if you're not comfortable, use a spoon. Then store it in the fridge till its time to serve.
- Serve chilled with pickle, and papad.