Navratri has started and today is the second day of fasting. Navratri Vrat or Navaratri Vratam is an important fast observed by Hindus. According to this ancient discipline, fasting is an effective way to kindle the digestive fire and burn away accumulated toxins from the body and mind. It also eliminates gas, lightens the body, improves mental clarity, provides a clean tongue and fresh breath, and preserves overall health. Food that is prepared during the Navratri (Navrate/ Nau Durge) time is light and no heavy spices/ingredients is used.
Though I don’t do fasting, cant stay hungry for more than 30 minutes! But I do try and eat light during this time. The main purpose as per Ayurveda is that our body needs to adjust itself during the weather change from Winters to Spring. By keeping fast or eating lighter foods for 10-15 days, we give our body a break from the meticulous digestion process and rather spend the energy on keeping itself fit and strong for the changing season.
Spring is no doubt an ideal time to give your dietary habits an overhaul and you can take advantage of all the seasonal spring foods – which can be fresher, cheaper and richer in nutrients – to eat a diet that will leave you feeling energetic and healthy.
Curd rice i.e. rice cooked with yogurt, milk and minimal spices is an excellent food for this time of the year. Its light, balanced and fulfilling. Of course, its super tasty and ready in a jiffy… to add to the pros.
Curd rice is not a typical Navratri dish in North India, but is eaten very fondly in the South. Its simplicity makes it an ideal choice for the changing weather. I have mixed a lot of cucumber in this one so its kind of runny. But it tastes so good and also gives me the day’s supply of fibre in one bowl. I am sure there must be some typical South Indian name for the curd rice with cucumber, I hope any of my SI friends could let me know 🙂
What you need?
- 1 cup raw rice
- 1 cup fresh and thick yogurt
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup grated cucumber
- ½ cup fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
- Salt as per taste
- 1-2 green chilies, chopped very small
- A small piece of ginger, grated
- 2 tsp Mustard oil
- 2-3 dry red chilies
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp Urad dal (yellow split lentil)
- 1 generous pinch of Asafoetida (heeng)
- 1 sprig of Curry leaves
How to make?
- Wash the rice properly and soak for half an hour. Rinse and cook with 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker or a wide pan on medium-low flame. It should be cooked properly till it’s a bit mashed up. Open when the steam is all off, and further mash the rice using a spatula or potato masher.
- Add butter and milk and mix again until it all comes together. Keep this mixture aside to let cool down a bit and in the meanwhile, prepare the tempering.
- To temper – heat oil in a small wok. Fry mustard seeds and asafoetida first. Then add urad dal, curry leaves & ginger and fry on a low flame for like 30 seconds.
- Add red chilies, green chilies, fry and turn of after 10 seconds. Add this tempering into the rice mixture.
- Then add grated cucumber and cilantro along with salt. Mix well and lastly add the yogurt. Gently stir to get yogurt mixed up, do not be rigorous at this point or the curd might curdle. Serve immediately without reheating.
Accomplishments – pickle, fruits, sambhar etc.
- I have added too much of cucumber, usually its only ¼ cup grated vegetables that’s added. If you haven’t had curd rice before, start with just ¼ cup of it.
- You may include cashews in the tempering.
- If you don’t like coriander leaves raw, you can add it while you temper and its gives an unique flavour.
- Butter is also optional, though it gives a nice creamy flavour!
- Other veggies that can be added are – carrot, beetroot etc. I once tried having it with Paneer added, didn’t taste good at all. but that’s also an option.
- You may use fruits as well- Grapes, mangoes, pomegranate and apple are perfect for it.
- Do not add cold milk to the hot rice. Heat milk to lukewarm and then add it. Instead of milk, you can add hot water too, but milk gives richness to the curd rice.
- Before adding curd, ensure that the rice is cooled down at room temperature.
Another Rice dish which is light on palate is this
which is another No onion-garlic recipe.