White heaven

24 May
Yoghurt

Yoghurt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1979 I went to work in Athens for a year; on the first Friday I was presented with a white lunch. Turned out Fridays were fast days in the household, which meant a plate of plain boiled rice and plain yoghurt. White food, white plate. What the hell is this? I thought, not thrilled at the sight.

But when I took a mouthful, I discovered that white was wonderful. The saltiness, heat and texture of the rice with the smooth, cold, tangy, fresh, creamy yoghurt (this is the full fat miracle that is proper Greek yoghurt), was heavenly. I promise you, it’s utterly delicious.

How simple do you want? Boil long-grain (preferably basmati) rice in salted water until done (grains separate with a tiny bit of bite in the centre, not soft or mushy). Drain, serve on plate or in bowl with a large dollop of Greek yoghurt (not the strained stuff, the fresh lemony-tasting creamy stuff) on top. Eat. 

Tell me how you find it. I’ve eaten it ever since 1979, and never get tired of it. You could try it with brown basmati rice for a change – you’d lose the white factor, but the taste would be even better. You could chop some fresh chives, parsley, coriander or basil on top, if you like, or a sprinkle of paprika or cayenne; some toasted sesame seeds or flaked almonds.

But the whole point of this is the apparent blandness which disguises a taste sensation.

What’s your favourite fasting dish?

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