All of us know a great deal about tayir saadam or curd rice or rice and yogurt. Call it what you will, this is one dish that is wholesome and cooling and gentle and all things at once. Although this is eaten in several parts of the country, it has got a TamBram stamp on it. (Am yet to figure out why.) And TamBrams are even called "Tayir Saadam" by many. Truly derogatory. But given the benefits, it's really OK if I get ridiculed for eating this.
Despite the fact that I grew up in Madras and spent many a summer in Bombay, my tolerance for heat is limited. And what I can tolerate is the humid heat of a coastal region. What I cannot tolerate is the dry heat of Hyderabad or Delhi. Tayir Saadam to the rescue! At the start of summer, we ate just curd rice everyday for lunch. It's a pleasure to eat cold cold curd rice when it is 45 degrees outside.
Many years ago, a family friend landed in Madras when my parents were away and I took him to Palimar, a restaurant in Madras. We ordered an Executive Thali and this came with, what was then, an unusual dish. Curd Rice in a bowl. What's so special about that? Oh wait. Take a closer look. Is that semia payasam? Hmmm... no. It was curd rice made with semia instead of rice. I loved it.
While I have made it several times, I made this last week while we were entertaining. And it was a great hit.
1 cup Roasted Vermicelli (Semia)
1 cup Water
1 Green Chilli, finely chopped
1" piece of Ginger, finely chopped
1/4 cup Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 cup Curd
1/2 cup Skimmed Milk
Salt to Taste
For the Tempering:
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
8-10 Curry Leaves
Place the roasted vermicelli and water in a microwave safe bowl and cook in the microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. Allow to stand for 2-3 minutes.
In a serving bowl, place the chillies, ginger, and coriander leaves. Add the curd and salt.
Heat the oil in a small kadhai. Add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. When the mustard begins to splutter, add the curry leaves. Add this to the curd mixture. Add the cooked vermicilli and the milk and mix well. Prepare this a couple of hours before you plan to eat it and chill it in the refrigerator for that duration. Garnish it with coriander leaves if you wish.
Enjoy this with Avakaya or Mango Thokku or any favourite pickle of yours.