Rice seemed to be the one thing that regularly turned up in the leftover bowl in our house. Not that we didn't eat rice growing up. It's just that rice always seemed to be something that my mom would make and there always seemed to be so much of it ! No matter how much we choked down, there always was more of the damn stuff, and nothing is more depressing than looking into the fridge on the morning after anything and finding a hard, cold, tough, stiff, congealed bowl of rice. It usually got tossed after a few dispirited days of all of us staring at it hiding behind the "real" butter my parents always bought for big dining events, trying not to be noticed, wishing we'd all just go away and let it harden in peace. And sure enough, a couple of days later there would be a bowl-shaped rice sculpture sitting in the Hefty bag awaiting it's final trip to the dumpster.
Now I hate hate, hate waste. I will go out of my way to make a meal stretch more ways than Silly Putty on a July day. What's not eaten gets recycled and composted. Also I try to cook only the amount of stuff that I know will get eaten, one day or another. But sometimes no matter how careful you are, you just get rice, rice and more rice. There's nothing to be done, and that's where this recipe comes in, the makeover for tired rice.
Rice, meet Rice Curd, the solution to leftover, neglected, lonely old rice. This cold salad can be made in just a few minutes, and for pennies. It works with Indian food and also goes fabulously with any Potluck bringalong, or back yard Summer time event. You'll never toss it again.
Take the rice and mix it together with:1 cup of plain yogurt.
Add some salt to taste.
In a small pan heat 2 Tbs of vegetable oil.
When the oil is hot toss in:
1 tsp of mustard seeds
3 dried red chilies
5 curry leaves (if you have them)
When the mustard seeds start to pop and the chilies darken, you are done.
Pour the oil and spices into the rice and yogurt mixture.
Give it all a stir and sprinkle a few chopped cilantro leaves across the top. There it is. Yes, that is all there is to it. Nothing exotic (well maybe the curry leaves) nothing fancy, just a simple cold rice salad with a bit of a kick. Every now and then it's good to be simple and put that leftover rice to good use.