This is best prepared 3-4 hours in advance of the meal, as the flavours are at their very best after few hours of sitting around.
Our accompanying raita was made from golden pumpkin, finely chopped, microwave cooked, mashed and mixed with yogurt and a standard mustard-curry leaf tempering. You can also do a ripe-banana raita or a simple cucumber raita. Take care to keep the raita simple and spice-free as the rice is already brimming with spices.
Next and final course was Thair Saadam, which needs no introduction to any Indian. The quintessential yogurt and rice without which no traditional meal ends in Tamil-land. For a daily meal, rice and yogurt are mixed with deft fingers and eaten with a pickle or sambar (if leftover from the first course). On some special days, yogurt rice is brought pre-mixed to the table with a delicate tempering.
I used half broken wheat and half rice for this preparation today (no special reason). Mash with plenty of yogurt (half milk and half yogurt if you are going to leave it out to sour, or lots of milk and tiny bit of yogurt if it is going to be consumed after several hours as the milk will set to curd along with the rice, and our Tamil grannies know how to time this to perfection).
Season with salt.
In a tadka ladle or small wok, heat a tsp of oil. Add bits of minced green chillies, bits of minced fresh ginger, mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Turn over into the yogurt rice. Give a stir.
Serve chilled with your favourite pickle. (My current favourite is Tomato Thokku from Grand Sweets)
Lunch Series so far
Day 1 – Vengaya Sambar, Vendakkai curry, Potato Roast
Day 2 – Peerkangai thuvaiyal, Red Chauli
Day 3 – Keerai Milagoottal, Cabbage curry
Day 4 – Capsicum Baath, Pumpkin pachidi, Thair saadam