Until recently, I used the words "curd" and "yogurt" interchangeably to refer to the creamy, sometimes-flavored dairy product. I have since found out that they are, in fact, not the same, and can decisively say that curd holds a special place in my heart that yogurt doesn't quite fill.

All my life, I have eaten curd with rice, granola, naan, and even mixed as a salad dressing. In Indian culture, curd (a.k.a thayir or dahi, among other names) is touted by every mom (especially mine) and aunty as a superfood that helps with digestion, immunity, bone health, and high body heat. There are already numerous articles dedicated to discussing these benefits, so this one will focus on all the delicious foods that feature curd as the star ingredient.

Curd Rice

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When I had to start cooking for myself, my mother's curd rice was the food I missed the most. This recipe is the perfect blend of cool curd, crisp curry leaves, crunchy dal, and warm tempered spices that leaves your stomach feeling full and satisfied. The way it pairs with every side dish ranging from stir-fried vegetables to chicken curry makes it an all-around player.


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Raita is basically watered-down curd with added spices and vegetables. It is a refreshing sauce that contains cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and other herbs of your choice. Spoon it over biryani, spicy fried chicken, or eggs for a cooling effect on your palate.


Curd is an excellent addition to marinades as it tenderizes the meat gently, unlike acids that may toughen the meat. Add a couple dollops to your regular blend of spices and massage the mixture into any cut of meat for a caramelized, but soft and juicy mouthful.


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A perfect after-school snack, curd parfaits are quick, easy, and super tasty. First, flavor the curd with honey (my favorite), vanilla extract, peanut butter, or maple syrup. Next, chop up your favorite fruit, nuts, chocolate, or granola before layering in a bowl to enjoy. By making the base from scratch and adding your favorite toppings, you can control the flavor and sweetness of the final product to your liking.


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Curd is also an excellent substitute for yogurt, sour cream, or mayonnaise in recipes that involve cooking (curd is usually not suitable for baking because of its low-fat content). Mix the curd into dishes like soups and stir-fry for a thicker, creamier consistency. You can also add it with some hummus, ketchup, or chipotle mayo for a light sandwich spread, salad dressing, or chip dip

As someone who eats curd in some form every day and is thoroughly obsessed, this is a PSA for everyone out there to join in. It is available in any Indian grocery store near you. If that is not a viable option, curd is similar to fermented products like sourdough starters, where a spoonful of curd or yogurt is all you need to make another batch—super easy! With its versatile nature in all things food and numerous health benefits, there is really no reason to not make curd a staple in your kitchen. Give it a try, and you, too, will be hooked forevermore.