In most parts of India, the Indian summer is incomplete without a helping of probiotic rich buttermilk. The parched throat yearns for cooling liquids which will soothe and refresh the body. It is not uncommon to find small kiosks set up to offer passersby free buttermilk on a hot working day. Initiatives like these are offered by corporates in some cities.
Buttermilk making is a popular ritual in most households. The yoghurt or curd is churned well to remove the butter and lighter residual liquid is the buttermilk. Small quantities of buttermilk are made by whipping one part curd to 2 parts water for a thin buttermilk and a little less water for a thicker buttermilk.
In South India, the buttermilk replaces the curd as a lunchtime side, during the hot months of the year. The watery buttermilk is added to rice and eaten with a helping of raw shallots and green chillies. The combination is said to be perfect for the scorching heat of summer.
In our native village, Bhodani in the Indapur district of Maharashtra, we farmer folk enjoy our 'taak' (buttermilk in marathi) slightly sweetened with khadi saakhar (rock sugar) and some sendha namak. It is also given a small tadka with cumin seeds just before serving.
It is also enjoyed as a refreshing drink and flavoured to individual tastes. A mango lassi is a delicious drink, pale buttercup yellow and frothy with the sweetness of the delicious mango varieties available throughout summer time. Mint, green chillies, cumin powder, salt and ginger are another mix of ingredients added to the buttermilk to make what is called in Tamil “neer mor”. No gujarathi meal is complete without a generous helping of ‘chaas’ served with a sprinkling of chatpata spices.
This is a simple recipe which can be enjoyed as a meal or as a snack at any time of day. It contains simple ingredients and is a tasty savoury dish. The traditional recipes call for double fermentation and then cooking but a simplified version is used which is also healthy and takes a few minutes.
A link for the traditional recipe will also be shared below.
Rice flour - 1 C (any rice flour of choice)
Water - 2 C
Curd (slightly sour) -1 C
Whisk the curd and water together to make a thin buttermilk and set aside. Or use fresh buttermilk after churning curds and separating the white butter.
Cold pressed coconut oil or gingelly oil - 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp
Mustard seeds -½ tsp
Curry leaves - 12-15
Mor milagai (Buttermilk soaked dried chillies) - 3-5
If these chillies are not available, just use green chillies or dried red chillies
Asafoetida (hing) - a big pinch
White urad dal - ½ tsp
Split chana dal - ½ tsp
Link for the traditional fermented recipe
Another traditional buttermilk recipe
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