Yogurt rice exists in so many forms across India—it is essential comfort food, often made with leftover rice, and the perfect cooling counterpart to hot weather. The basic elements are yogurt, rice, tempered spices, and sometimes cut vegetables, but it’s the combination of cold, creamy yogurt and hot, crunchy spices that’ll keep you coming for bite after bite. Make sure your rice is cooled to room temperature, or your yogurt won’t mix into it properly.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, carrots, zucchini, ginger, and 3/4 tsp. salt, then fold in the yogurt until evenly coated (similar to a thick rice pudding.)
In a small saucepan, melt the ghee or butter over medium-high heat. Add the cashews and chilies, and cook until the cashews are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Push the cashews to the side of pan, and add the cumin seeds, toasting until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and stir in the red chile powder.
Pour the tempered spices over the rice, and garnish with the cilantro.
Made this dish today without making any substitutions. I used brown basmati, which we like. The result was very good and delicious. I'll definitely make it again, but will probably make a half batch next time since we're a household of two. I'm planning on have the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow. A nice cool, summer dish.
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