Monday, October 30, 2017

Indian curd yogurt

What is that , 'an Indian yogurt' ? . It is simply called as curd,  dahi , thayir (தயிர்) and by many many words in Indian languages. But however it is called, it is one of the major food items in an Indian household. Even in abroad, we all take pride and enjoy making this yogurt at home in surplus quantities, because store bought Indian curd is comparatively expensive than the homemade versions and it is needed in all of our houses for everyday consumption.

Indian curd is very easy to prepare, if and only if we are having a starter fermentation curd. Not all store bought yogurts have the same culture as Indian curd. But we have to look for labels like 'live culture'  'probiotic culture' in yogurts in Indian stores. I found that DEEP BRAND is the one of the best as a starter. That too for first two or three times, the yogurt may look little different, but we have to proceed with the same homemade yogurt  everytime (and the base culture improvises after a few times). So a good cook would be very cautious in preserving the basic culture by keeping at least a few tbsp of curd at fridge all the time.

There are a few rules to make good curd and here I am listing what I follow.
Boiling the milk

Let it ferment.

creamy Indian curd is ready !

Whole milk  - 1 cup
starter curd with active cultures - 1 tbsp for every cup of milk

Boil the milk until frothy. My mom would say 'let it rise 5 times to remove the raw smell ' 😄. So I too do like that.
While boiling the milk stir well using a whisk to make it little more creamy and frothy (secret of more yumminess).
Let it cool. The perfect cooled temperature should be something like lukewarm.
Add 1 tbsp curd for 1 cup of milk.
Whisk well or pour it back and forth between two cups (like making Indian tea) till frothy.
Close and keep in warm place.
🌷(Sometimes a casserole / hot box or an Indian cooker with warm water, can give necessary warmth if we are in cold countries. And also by this way we can get the fermented curd within 4 hours).
🌷(During colder weather , I preheat oven to 200 for 10 minutes and keep the milk for fermentation inside warm oven. It takes almost 10 hours for me to get a good quality curd by this oven method).
🌷(During summer the room temperature is enough to prepare curd. While in Chennai I used to start making curd / உறை ஊற்றுவது only after preparing morning tea and the curd would be ready for lunch ).
After serving the curd, always save a few tbsp of curd (culture) for next day's fermentation. This is the key for perfect homemade curd.

Indian yogurt is poured over rice to make curd rice.
It is also consumed as dipping along with some parathas.
Plain yogurt (dahi / thayir) is used to prepare many kinds of raithas, used in marinations in popular recipes like tandoori chicken , chiken 65 and in most chicken recipes.
It is also used in Indian cooldrinks like lassi, spicy buttermilk.
Indian platter meals would always include a cup for dahi (it is very good for health).

Most of the store bought Indian yogurts are more yummier and creamier than homemade versions in reality. The creamy texture is got by adding some corn starch and/or cream while manufacturing it.
So it is a good idea to buy those curds when we want something more special or for preparing a thick quick raitha.
I use fat-free milk to prepare curd on most days. But whole milk yogurt tastes more delicious.

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