Butter milk is yogurt diluted with water. It is consumed almost daily in Indian homes.
In India, yogurt is made at home and is rarely store bought. Store bought yogurt is pasteurized to extend shelf life but this process also kills the essential good bacteria.
How to make Yogurt at home
Milk is boiled and allowed to cool down to lukewarm or even room temperature.
The cream that rises to the top and forms a layer there is scooped out and stored in the freezer for making homemade butter / homemade ghee (clarified butter) for children. After the cream / fat is removed, what we have is skimmed milk. This is how Indians made low fat milk at home those days.
When the milk is ready, a spoon of previous day’s yogurt (called culture) is added to it. The culture is simply dropped into the milk and never stirred. This is very important because this will be the seed for the curd / yogurt to set.
Then this vessel is left undisturbed for a few hours (depends on the weather conditions). In hot places like Chennai, during summer, yogurt can be made in a matter of 3 hours.
Adding live culture to milk was usually the last kitchen duty performed by my mom. In the morning, yogurt was ready.
One important tip here is – If you want thick curd, the yogurt culture you add should be thick and not watery (with whey) .
And no stirring.
How to make yogurt at home in cold weather?
Heat the oven so it is slightly warmer than room temperature and switch it off. Then place the vessel in it and leave it overnight without opening the oven or disturbing the vessel. You may also leave the oven light on to quicken this process.
Can store bought yogurt
be used as culture to make yogurt at home?
Like mentioned above, some brands do not have any live culture. So they rarely work.
When we eat store bought yogurt, we may get the taste of yogurt but never the actual health benefits of buttermilk (that are too long to be listed here).
I am sure at least some of you tried to make yogurt at home and gave up in frustration because the curd never set and the milk finally spoiled. There have been times when I have had to dispose the milk because I was doubtful about the usability of the milk that was kept out of the refrigerator for hours.
How to get yogurt culture in a foreign country / cold country?
Here is a neat trick. Most restaurants do not buy yogurt because it will cost them more to buy than to make it themselves.
So go buy yourself some yogurt from a restaurant and there is a high chance that it will be a live culture.
If they don’t sell yogurt, buy a veg thali parcel and it will come with yogurt or buttermilk.
Hey don’t tell them that I told ya this :mrgreen:
How to make herb infused buttermilk
This spicy salty Lassi is called many things in many languages in India.
Tamil – Mooru
Marati– Taak or Tak
Hindi – Chaas
Herb infused butter milk is a sure shot way for
- Detoxifying your body
- Getting your daily dose of Calcium
- Getting your daily dose of pro-biotics
- Maintaining a healthy gut. It controls the growth of bad bacteria and ensures the right environment for the good bacteria to grow and produce vitamin B.
- Keeping the body cool
- Increasing fluid intake because this is tastier than plain water.
This list is going to be a long one. So I will stop here and allow you to google to learn about the benefits of buttermilk.
- Curry leaves
- Cilantro / coriander leaves
- Mint leaves (added but forgot to show in picture below)
- Green Chili (optional) – A small piece of a green chili is enough
Chop all the ingredients finely.
Using a whisk or a hand blender or a spoon, mix the yogurt to break down any clumps.
Dilute with water. The amount of water used depends on the sourness of the yogurt.
This buttermilk can be mixed with rice and eaten (moru sadham / மோர் சாதம் ) or you can drink it as such (Neeru mooru – watery buttermilk).
The chopped items can be added now to the buttermilk. You may also use a tea strainer or a herb infuser to infuse the essence into the buttermilk.
This is useful if you are going to feed this to a young kid who might not like pieces of leaves and ginger floating in it.
Usually we simply add it directly to the buttermilk and drink and when we get the pieces in our mouth, they are simply chewed and consumed…. that is if you can handle small bits of raw ginger. Try, it is yummy.
Buttermilk by itself is very nutritious and it becomes a super healthy drink when coriander leaves, curry leaves, mint leaves and ginger are added to it.
The biggest health benefit of buttermilk is that it helps prevent cancer and promotes bone health.
There are homes in India where a big jug of buttermilk is made in the morning and the inmates drink it through out the day just like we consume water. Obviously they were healthier, leaner and had glowing skin.
Lassi is usually stored in mud pots. These are natural refrigerators used in India to cool water during summer.
Drinking masala chaas (buttermilk) is very effective way to reduce body heat in summer. What other food items do you include to handle the Indian summer? Leave your comment below.