Padma Lakshmi appeared on The Ellen Show to talk about her new memoir and her new line of foods. She shared a recipe for yogurt rice (aka curd rice) and had Ellen DeGeneres help her make a vegan version of the dish by mixing the yogurt and rice together with her hands instead of a spoon. Watch their chat and curd rice prep in this video:
Curd rice is a popular South Indian dish, especially at the end of meals. A simpler version is often made at home by just combining two ingredients — rice and plain yogurt. If I hadn’t already seen the humble upma win a past Top Chef Masters competition, I might have been surprised to see the satisfying yet very home-style dish of curd rice being showcased on The Ellen Show. Ellen tried the finished dish and found it “so good and peppery” before saying “My god, that’s hot” and diving into a bowl of plain yogurt.
Padma Lakshmi also talked about being an immigrant to the United States and about the pain of not fitting in and changing her name to “Angelique” in high school — an action that, looking back now, makes her cringe.
Curd rice was a dish that made me cringe as a kid. Not only was I yogurt-averse back then, but its room-temp salty nature didn’t recommend itself to me either. Over time, my tastes changed, and I can say today that I would have liked to sample the peppery and pomegranate-studded version Padma Lakshmi made on TV with Ellen. What about the mainstream U.S. audience watching at home though? Some of them might have had it at home like me or as part of a buffet, but most viewers have probably not. Curd rice had a supermodel/author selling it to them via The Ellen Show, but it also had Ellen giving them comedic cues that it was weird to make it with her hands and too spicy for her taste.
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