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Coconut Yogurt Rice with Tempered Spices

Cook Time:
5 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins
2 to 4

Chef notes

There isn’t a more quintessential south Indian dish than yogurt rice, a creamy, savory combination of cooked basmati rice and spiced yogurt that’s a bit like a looser rice pudding in texture. This staple dish is a complete balance of carbohydrates, proteins, spices and most importantly — satisfaction. Plus, this dish is easy to make, easy to pack and travels perfectly. 

This clever vegan twist on the traditional dish relies on coconut yogurt rather than regular dairy yogurt. It also goes one step further because it incorporates leftover rice. This not only helps cut down on food waste but it’ll taste better too;  the starches in the rice become more resistant, which means that flavors will stick to the grains better than when they're freshly cooked. 

It’s best to start with room temperature yogurt when making this recipe. It absorbs the flavor of the grated ginger, chopped green chiles and salt better and the rice will be able to soak up more of it in turn. 

What makes all yogurt rice extra special is the tempered spices that are poured over the top before serving. Here, black mustard seeds, dried red chili, peanuts and curry leaves are heated in oil until fragrant, then immediately poured over the creamy rice and stirred in. These spices lend heat and savory flavor to each cooling bite of the rice.

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it. 


  • 1 cup leftover cooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy coconut yogurt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy unsweetened plain creamer
  • 1/2-inch knob fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Indian green chilis (or 1 serrano chili), minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 to 5 curry leaves (optional)
  • 1 dried red chili
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted dry roasted peanuts
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In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coconut yogurt, ginger, green chilies, salt and a pinch of sugar. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Add in the leftover basmati rice and mix to coat completely. Add in 1 tablespoon of non-dairy creamer and mix. Consistency should be similar to a creamy rice pudding, so add more creamer to obtain that consistency. Taste again and adjust for salt if necessary.


Place a small skillet over medium-high heat and add in 2 teaspoons of neutral oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the black mustard seeds, dried red chili and peanuts. Reduce heat to medium and swirl in oil for 30 seconds until fragrant. Then (if using), add in the curry leaves and stand back as these will pop aggressively. Once popping subsides, swirl and immediately pour spices into the coconut yogurt rice. Stir to incorporate.


Serve immediately, or let sit for at least 1 hour for flavors to incorporate further. This dish travels well, as it tastes great at room temperature and the spices help preserve the dish.