Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Yogurt Rice. A Fast, Fresh, Gluten Free Alternative to Pasta Salad

   When I giving a party, I start off very organized. Of course it all usually goes downhill from there, but I do start off with the best intentions. I want to come to the table looking all fresh and hostessey, not like some kitchen wallah in a stained apron and runny mascara, spattered with turmeric as I usually do. Here's a video I found online of a working kitchen in a little street resturant in Colaba Mumbai.

   It's okay for these guys to be covered in maida and spices. They're staying in the kitchen and don't have to go out and sit down with the customers. Entertaining at home is not so easy. That's why anything one can cook ahead or put together at the last minute is a real bonus. Another reason why I like this recipe for Yogurt rice, the rice can be made ahead and then all the spices and yogurt are added right before serving. Simple, fast and absolutely no sweat!

Yogurt Rice

Here's What You Need:

4 cups of water
2 cups of rice
1 and 1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of brown mustard seeds
4 dried red peppers
10 curry leaves or 4 bay leaves
3 Tbs of vegetable oil
2 Tbs of yellow split peas
2 Tbs of split urad dal (optional)
1/2 cup of raw unsalted cashew pieces
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp minced and seeded green serrano chili
2 tsps peeled monced fresh ginger
1 tsp of salt
2 cups plain yogurt (or soy or any non dairy yogurt)
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

Here's what to do:

Make the rice by boiling 4 cups of water.
when it boils add salt and rice.
When it starts to boil again, put a lid on the pot and turn the heat waaaaaaay down to low.
Let it cook for about 35 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
The rice should be nice and fluffy.
Set it aside.
The rice needs to be made ahead of time so that it is at room temperature.
Heat 3 Tbs of oil in a large wok, skillet or kadhai.
When the oil is hot, add in the curry or bay leaves,mustard seeds and  dried red peppers.

Cook until the mustard seeds start to pop.
Add in the split peas, urad dal, cashews, bell pepper, green chili, ginger, salt and onion.
Saute everything for about 10 minutes or until the dal has turned color and the bell pepper has gotten tender.

When everything is cooked, take the pan off the heat and add in the yogurt and sour cream if you're going to include it too.

Add the cooked, cooled  rice to this mixture.

Stir it all together. Make sure everything is mixed in.
Serve the salad at room temperature.

   There it is, an easy, simple gluten free salad that's as easy as making rice and adding a yogurt and spice dressing.  If you use soy yogurt, it's not only gluten free, it's vegan! I love this dish for it's make-ahead qualities, plus it's a natural for any pot luck or barbecue.  It's also great the next day too, if there's any left.

   Finally I couldn't resist including this clip of amazing restaurant technique. Here's some mad skills.

   Coming up next, Papaya and California Walnuts make a great Indian flavored quick Summer salad. Follow along on Twitter: @kathygori


  1. I want a big heaping bowl of this in front of me... right now.

  2. I can almost smell this fragrant rice!

  3. Beautiful Kathy! I laughed out loud reading your "kitchen wallah" description. Sounds like me on Christmas Eve. Seriously though, I couldn't agree more make ahead dishes are always the way to go.

    Have a great week :)

  4. There's certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I really like all the points you made.

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