This blog has been contributed by Sanya Sharma.
Yogurt, or dahi as older generations still know it, has transformed from being a traditional household staple to a millennial favorite. And in this globalized and health-conscious age, that's unsurprising. Yogurt is packed with health benefits - so much so that Genghis Khan and his entire army famously lived on yogurt.
Yogurt is an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and pro-bio tics. The fermentation process enriches yogurt with nutrition beyond regular non-fermented milk. In fact, yogurt made from full-fat milk contains almost every nutrient you need! Yogurt is rich in vitamin B12, calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin (vitamin B2). This makes it great for maintaining digestive health, strengthening bones, preventing osteoporosis, and lowering blood pressure.
Researchers estimate that yogurt has been known to human civilizations since at least 6000 BCE when it was accidentally discovered in Central Asia. Since then, it spread across the world and took different forms in various cuisines, including Indian food. From being an accompaniment, modern-day yogurt has taken on a new life as a meal of its own. Eat it raw, drink it, dip it, or do what you want with it - yogurt has got your back.
Here's how you can make fresh, healthy, and impurity-free yogurt with Farmery milk.
How to Make Yogurt
You know how food has this bad habit of always forcing compromise? If it tastes good, it's probably unhealthy. If it's healthy, it's probably a hard taste to get used to (broccoli, I'm looking at you). And if somehow it happens to be both, it's expensive.
Yogurt is the one food item that has cracked it all. It tastes great, it's super healthy, easily affordable, and simple enough for even a child to make. No wonder broke and always-on-the-run millennials love it so much. With your Farmery milk in hand, follow these simple steps to make yourself some delicious yogurt:
What you will need:
- A starter to get the fermentation going. A small pack of store-bought plain yogurt should be good for this. We will need only 1-2 tbsp.
- 500 ml Farmery milk.
- A saucepan to heat your milk in.
- A container with an airtight lid.
- A dry, warm place to keep your yogurt so it ferments. You can keep it in your oven or on top of warm appliances like refrigerators or inverters.
What to do:
- Begin by heating your Farmery milk in a saucepan on medium heat and bring it to a boil.
- Take the milk off the stove and wait for it to cool. Pour it into the container with the lid.
- Add two tablespoons of store-bought plain yogurt to 500 ml of milk. Stir lightly to mix the yogurt into the milk.
- Cover the container tightly with a lid. Place it in a warm and dry environment with a consistent temperature.
- Leave the container for a few hours and wait for the bacteria to do its magic! After 3-4 hours, you should find that your pure Farmery milk has fermented into a delicious block of yogurt. Don't leave it there too long, though! If you leave the yogurt out too long, it turns sour.
- Take the yogurt off and put it in the fridge to cool.
A MasterChef Challenge
You can eat your yogurt as an accompaniment, a dish on its own, or make many other wonderful dishes out of it. Yogurt is super versatile. Imagine if you were on MasterChef and yogurt had to be the star ingredient of your breakfast gettogether. You could totally make a multi-course meal! Here are some ideas:
Yogurt is great for making various kinds of drinks. You could make buttermilk, which is deliciously light and easy to digest. Another option is lassi, its polar opposite. Heavy and filling, lassi is an absolute Punjabi favorite. Finally, you can make a rich and creamy smoothie - lassi’s cooler cousin. Smoothies are perfect for a healthy breakfast on-the-go!
You can create infinite variations of each of these drinks. To get you started, check out my favorite recipes:
- Buttermilk with a zing! - This one is a savoury, spicy, and ultra-refreshing recipe from South India.
- Classic Punjabi sweet lassi - It’s a classic from the North. Enough said.
- A Very Berry Smoothie - It will send you along merrily in the mornings.
Appetizers and Mains
Here’s an ancient secret: if you put yogurt in a thin muslin cloth or cheesecloth and strain it well, you get Greek yogurt. Yup, that’s it. There’s nothing particularly Greek about it - all you have to do is get rid of the liquid part (called whey) and retain the creamy bits. Strain it further to make it extra thick, and you have labneh, a Mediterranean delight.
All these forms of yogurt can be used to make delicious accompaniments for appetizers and mains. Good ol’ parathas with dahi and curd rice never go out of fashion, but there’s so much more you can do. I’m crazy about spiced labneh or hung curd dips. They go well with carrots, chips, pita bread - virtually anything! And don’t forget the tandoori yogurt-marinated paneer tikka for barbecue days. That’s my childhood on a plate, you guys. I also love these extra-healthy Greek yogurt pancakes. The list is endless. You can check out more ideas for what to do with labneh and Greek yogurt.
What meal is complete without the sweet stuff? Yogurt has that covered too. With Durga Puja around the corner, the first thing I think of is mishti doi, a sweet Bengali classic. But there’s a lot more you can do. I love the idea of a Greek yogurt chocolate mousse, which maintains all the yumminess of chocolate but cuts out the unhealthy sugar and fat. Finally, this list would be incomplete without the ultimate alternative to ice cream.
That’s right - frozen yogurt or fro-yo is unanimously loved across generations.
Yo-Gurt It, Dude!
So as you see, yogurt is healthy, yummy, and super versatile. It’s also really easy to make. In India, it has seen an interesting cultural transformation. It used to just be the thing on the side you eat with meals, but it’s rapidly taking over as an urban millennial favorite. With yogurt in your fridge, the kitchen is your kingdom!