Throw money around, make the impossible happen, pull strings and work through connections or just hire the best cook or even better, go to the best restaurant. All these are going to make special things simple. Life is not always about how special things are made simple, it is about how simple things are made special. The curd rice stands unmatched in simplicity and it is also the uncut stone waiting to be sculptured into the most glamorous statue.
Good food always brings happiness and a for meal to be complete, it must end with the curd rice. Hail south Indians for this practice! Well cooked rice is mixed with curd with a dash of salt. Simple, quick and needs no brilliance. Best suited for hot afternoons and the best way to experience your favorite pickle or the left over vatha kuzhambu or the sambar. Countless times my curd rice volcano has been filled with hot vatha kuzhambu and it erupts as fulfillment with every mouth and countless times I have had curd rice only for the reason that I cannot miss the pickle.
There are days when I come home from lab and need something special and at the same time traditional and packable for next days lunch. What could be better than making some special curd rice and letting the milk that has been added with the curd to curdle along with the juices of green chili and ginger imbued within? This is exactly what I mean by making simple things special. I remember that when I once wanted to order special curd rice in the restaurant, Appa was totally against it. He said that if I wanted to eat curd rice, I should have had it home! Agreed, but sometimes you never know where temptations originate from!
Basmathi rice has become an integral part of my life here. It was easy for me to buy it in the German supermarkets and cheaper as 5 Kg bags in the Srilankan stores. And being a student when I get Basmathi at 11 E against 15 E for our normal rice, why would I say no?! And using basmathi to make this curd rice is like using a 100 % pure solvent for my experiments! After cooking it with a little extra amount of water to make it more soft, I pop mustard seeds in oil, roast channa dhal, urad dhal, curry leaves, green chili and minced ginger and add this into the rice. I follow this order because I want my curry leaves to be crisp but at the same time I don't want green chili and ginger to be fried. After sprinkling salt, I allow it to get cooled for a few minutes before pouring in chilled milk. Never the 1.5 % low fat or skimmed stuff. No compromise no taste, no, definitely not in this! So the best milk goes into this. Then the curd. I make sure I have stock of curd from the Turkish shops when I want to make this. The Turkish curd tastes exactly like "aathu tachi" (home made curd) and gives me a sense of home. Finely chopped dhaniya leaves/stems also go into this and when I mix this, I make sure the green chili and ginger gets crushed and the juices are out.
Want this extra special?! Sprinkle shredded coconut, carrot, cucumber, raw mango pieces, raisins and pomegranate . Will the glamorous statue say NO to ornaments?!