Answer this. What's the point of all this self-styled, know-it-all banter and cooking if I can't give a professional total hell from time to time? So I take to any brief respites from my kitchen with great aplomb. Scanning the restaurant menu for dishes I would hesitate to cook at home. Ordering everything my heart desires. Protesting vehemently about discrepancies in the food/service/ambience. My third dinner out this week and I was ready to exercise my self-bestowed rights. But just as I was about to tuck into the Beef and Foie Gras Gyoza's at my friend's chi chi new restaurant this week, my stomach gave up on me. I was really looking forward to those dumplings. Instead, I was bundled into a black cab, while cursing poetic justice, and sent home. Revenge is a dish best served cold they say. Now I had to soothe myself with a cooling treat from the quick Indian staple - the South Indian Curd Rice. Back in India, this was standard lunch on blindingly hot summer days or when you didn't feel quite right. I always have a stash of curry leaves in the freezer to make this. Fresh, full of flavour and idiot proof - it'll mend bruised pride and a raging inside in no time at all.
Wash the rice well, drain and place in a pan with a cup of cold water. Bring it boil, then simmer covered for 8-10 minutes until the rice is cooked and fluffy.
In the meantime, whisk the yoghurt with the salt in a bowl. Next in a small pot, bring the oil to heat on medium.
When it is hot, add the asafoetida. As it sizzles, add the mustard and cumin seeds and then the whole red chilli and curry leaves.
When the curry leaves stop crackling, mix in the rice, with the salt to taste. Leave aside for 10 minutes to cool for a bit and then stir in the yogurt. I tend to put the pot in the fridge or just outside in the garden.