Reprinted with permission from FOOD & WINE as originally published here in their September 2020 Issue.

Tempering the toppings in hot oil, a technique known as making a tadka, brings out their flavors and is the perfect counterpoint to the cooling yogurt in this simple, comforting dish. Be sure to use plain whole-milk yogurt, not a strained, Greek-style yogurt, for the creamiest porridge-like texture. Food & Wine restaurant editor Khushbu Shah makes this comforting yogurt rice whenever she needs some self-care after a long trip.

Active Time: 15 mins, Total Time: 1 hrs, Yield 2


  • 1/2 cup uncooked medium-grain white rice (such as Bomba) or 2 cups cooked medium-grain white rice

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1/4 cup whole milk

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons dried split white urad dal

  • 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds

  • 2 small dried whole red chiles (such as chiles de árbol)

  • 12 small fresh curry leaves (optional) 


Step 1

If using cooked rice, skip step 1, and proceed to step 2.) Place uncooked rice in a small colander. Rinse under cold water, using your fingers to move rice around in colander, until water runs clear, about 1 minute. Drain well. Transfer rice to a small saucepan, and add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil over high. Stir once; cover and reduce heat to low. Gently simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Spread rice evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool to just slightly warmer than room temperature, about 20 minutes. 

Step 2

Divide rice evenly between 2 shallow bowls. Add 1/4 cup yogurt and 2 tablespoons milk to each bowl; gently stir until combined. Stir in salt to taste, and set aside. 

Step 3

Heat oil in small saucepan over medium until shimmering, about 3 minutes. Add urad dal and mustard seeds; cook, stirring constantly, 15 seconds (mixture will sizzle). Add chiles and, if using, curry leaves; until dal turns light brown and curry leaves become almost translucent, about 45 seconds. Immediately pour hot mixture (tadka) evenly over prepared yogurt rice. 

Make Ahead

Rice can be cooked up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. 


Urad dal may be purchased online.

Reprinted with permission from FOOD & WINE as originally published here in their September 2020 Issue.