Ma’s Special Curd Rice / Thayir Saadam

My Ma’s Special Curd Rice / Thayir Saadam

One of my mother’s signature dishes.

Okay … You must be thinking … It’s just a curd rice recipe.. What is so special about it? No, it is not just curd rice for us. Read on …

As South Indians, we are extremely particular about our curd rice, which is the reason why, women folk in South Indian households always made it a point to set the curd at night without fail. Now setting of curd is not an easy task. It turns sour if too much curd / culture is added to the milk, if the temperature of the milk is not right (just lukewarm is right) & most importantly, the culture introduced (the dahi / curd / yoghurt) is not of a good quality.

While growing up, the one thing our fridge had was curd stocks in huge quantities. As we had (rather still have) the habit of drinking chaas or buttermilk whenever we are hungry, during our meals / post meals etc.

My Ma loved her curd rice with pickles i.e. the Vadu Manga Pickle or Tender Mango pickles. Not a single day went by that I haven’t seen my mom not eat her favourite curd rice & her homemade Vadu Manga Pickle as an accompaniment. According to her, a meal is incomplete without some curd rice. It helped her sleep better. Well, one could argue that sleeping better has nothing to do with curd … No arguments with Ma… She was always right!!

If you ask a simple question to yourself, what is the first thing you eat to soothe your stomach in case of stomach infections? Curd! The Doctors also recommend this probiotic goodness in umpteen quantities to ensure your stomach remains calm & ensures faster recovery. Instead of having probiotic drinks, I think having a small cup of curd rice would be a much better option. Reason – Everything is home made, no preservatives, not stored in a bottle for heaven’s sake!!

I am sharing this recipe with you all during the holy festival of Navratri as this is made as a prasad / offering at home for Navami or the 9th day. Curd Rice is offered to the Goddess to soothe her & cool her down after chanting the Mahishasuramardini Stotra which is a devotional strotra or prayer written by Guru Adi Sankaracharya which is recited for Goddess Mahisasura Mardini, the Goddess who killed Demon Mahishasura.

The 9 days of Navratri depict the Goddess in various forms – In the end – It also tells us that Evil shall be conquered & justice will prevail. If a woman can be gentle as a mother, she can be downright fierce to protect her loved ones. A woman has many roles to play, she does it day after day with a big smile on her face & faces all the challenges in life by walking tall, proud n strong! Never take her granted for her wrath can be all consuming!!

Having brought up by a single mother .. I have always known my Ma to be a strong, fierce, independent lady who didn’t care about the world, raised her daughters wonderfully & taught them to never give up in life & fight for what is right!!

This Curd Rice is fondly dedicated to an exceptional lady – Mrs. Lakshmi Iyer, my Ma on her 12th Death Anniversary!! 

PS – Since many people often complain of their curd rice going sour, please go through the detailed recipe with the notes to avoid such issues & enjoy a creamy cool curd rice.

Recipe for Curd Rice / Thayir Saadam

Serves 2 persons

Preparation Time – 30 mins, Cooking Time – 10 mins

Ingredients –

  1. Rice – 1 cup (preferably freshly cooked)
  2. Yoghurt – ½ cup (fresh not tangy at all)
  3. Milk – 1 cup (boiled & cooled)
  4. Salt – as per taste

For the Tempering (optional)

  1. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  2. Chana Dal – 1 tsp
  3. Dry Red Chillies – 3-4 nos broken into small pieces
  4. 2-3 nos. fresh green chillies finely chopped
  5. Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
  6. Ginger – 1 inch finely grated

Method –

  1. Pressure cook rice (1 cup rice = 2 cups water).
  2. Once the rice is cooked, mash it a little (while hot).
  3. Allow the rice to cool for a while.
  4. When the rice is slightly warm, add milk & mix well.
  5. Now add the yoghurt, salt & mix well.
  6. Pour the tempering over it & mix again. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Important tips –

  1. In case it is for immediate consumption, use 1 cup yoghurt & ½ cup milk.
  2. If you are travelling long distance, use just 3 tblsps of yoghurt & mix everything with milk. Carry curd in case you want to add to the thick mixture.
  3. For making soft & velvety curd rice, don’t add water, always opt for milk.

Notes / Tips –

  1. Please do not use Basmati Rice for making Curd Rice. Use any normal non-fragrant rice. Kolam is the best option or down south we use Ponni Raw Rice.
  2. If you wish to make Curd rice with leftover rice, steam it once in a pressure cooker by adding a splash of water so the rice softens. The idea of eating curd rice shouldn’t involve dry coarse rice. It should be soft & mushy in texture.
  3. Adding of ginger is optional. It flavours the rice, aids in digestion & is beneficial to people who have weak stomach, acidity problems, bloating.

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Vidya Narayan 


15 thoughts on “Ma’s Special Curd Rice / Thayir Saadam

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  1. Dear Vidya,
    This post touched me on so many levels! When I was growing up, my Aai (mom) always made curd rice for me as I did not feel full or satisfied until I had my curd rice. I would even eat some after having dinner at a restaurant. Thank you so much for sharing your Ma’s recipe and her memories with us. I know how precious these are as I treasure my Aai’s recipes and memories too. She taught me how to cook, share the knowledge with others and so much more.

    1. Dear Sandhya Tai, Thank you so much for taking the time & going through the post. It means a lot to me especially since it was a dedication to my ma. Mothers are tremendously special, growing up we don’t realise that but when we are older or when they are no more, we realise their true value & worth, their advice, suggestions & also loads of scolding which by the way is the reason we are doing well by the grace of God! Glad we both had amazing mothers who shaped us into who we are today including the love for food & cooking. Loads of love n hugs, Vidya

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