Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Spiced Yogurt Rice - Thair Sadam

People in some communities in Southern India, usually eat a 3-course meal for lunch everyday. Now, this information could probably make you wonder how they manage to keep slim. But that is a long story meant for another blog post.

They generally start off with rice, vegetables and a spicy tamarind sauce called "sambar", pronounced "saaam-baaar" and made with tamarind, lentils, some vegetables and a special spice mix called, guess what? sambar powder! :) My mother makes the sambar powder at home in huge quantities so she can provide a year's supply to me and my sisters. The 2nd course is another spicy sauce in soup-like consistency made in a large variety of flavors. This is called "rasam".

The grand finale of the meal is the most important "thair sadam" pronounced "thaaa-yir saaadam" or yogurt and rice. If one is in a hurry and has no time for the 3-course meal, the first two courses may be omitted. But no responsible Indian housewife will let her child or husband go out the door before filling their stomachs with thair sadam. It is considered the panacea of all illnesses, the most complete and healthy dish.

Now, on a day-to-day basis, South Indians will just ladle home-made yogurt onto rice, mix and eat it with some pickle or vegetable of the day. But there are times when the same bland thair sadam is made into a festive dish. Today's recipe is this festive thair sadam. I made this with brown rice, but feel free to try it with either white or brown rice. If you've been following my blog so far, you'll probably know that I am a big fan of brown rice, but this is one rice dish that I would recommend you try with white rice first, since it tastes simply fantastic!

Eat and enjoy with the crisp curried potatoes or the green beans. This recipe is dedicated to my friend, Jeff, since this is one of his favorite dishes.

Here is what you need:
1 cup cooked rice (white or brown) (make sure the rice is a bit overcooked and very tender)
1 1/2 cups thick unsweetened yogurt
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

To Garnish:
1 tsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp split, peeled urad dal (optional)
1 pinch asofoetida powder
1 habanero or jalapeno pepper (chopped fine) (optional, if you dont like spicy food)
1 sprig curry leaves

Here is how you make this:

Cool rice completely after it is cooked. Mix in the yogurt, salt and sugar. Heat oil in a pan. When oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Wait until they crackle and add chopped habanero pepper. Fry until crisp. Now add the curry leaves. Fry until crisp. Add urad dal and brown. Add asofoetida powder and take the pan off the stove.

Pour garnish over the yogurt rice and serve with crisp curried potato or green beans.


  1. Wow this looks yummy. First time here through foodie blogroll....Yummy blog with so many yummy recipes...Will surely visit again.....

  2. Hello -

    Thank you for your comment. I am glad you like the recipes. Do let me know how they turn out after you try them.