Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Homemade curd...


Having homemade curd (dahi or doi) with our meal is a common practice. I  set curd every alternate day, it's a routine in my household. I have seen my grandmother, mother, aunts doing it and I do it too. Use of curd in Indian cuisine stretches back to the ancient Vedic times. Our cuisine may be diverse but when it comes to curd or yogurt every single cuisine uses it, be it in making the gravy for the curry or a dessert or as a dip or serving at the end of the meal. The naturally fermented curd is so very healthy and good for the gut, so I insist that my family members have their share of this probiotic goodness everyday.

Setting curd at home is a common practice in India. In Bengali we call it 'Ghore pata doi', which literally translates to homemade curd. And like most other everyday food I have learnt setting curd at home from my mother, she used to do it everyday. The steps are very easy. Once you understand the basic science behind the curd making, it becomes super simple. It starts with milk. When we add the bacteria, that is the curd or yogurt culture, to the milk, under the right temperature the milk turns into a pudding like sour food. Don't get intimidated by the word yogurt culture, I simply use a spoonful of curd from the previous day and mix it with milk to set the curd. To set the curd properly you need to keep it in a warm place. I don't face any problem regarding the right conditions of setting curd, as I live in a hot and humid country, but if you are living in a cold country you need to create the perfect environment for the curd to set, or else the bacteria that works with the milk to create the curd won't survive.

Things needed to make Homemade curd:

  • Milk: 2 cups (480 ml)
  • Curd: 2 tbsp
  • Milk powder (unsweetened): 2 tbsp (optional)

Steps of making homemade Curd:

1. Boil the milk. As the milk boils, reduce the heat and let the milk bubble for 5-6 mins. Keep stirring. Switch off the heat.

2. Let it cool down for 5 mins, add the milk powder (if your using it). Mix well so there are no lumps. You can always skip this step of adding milk powder, but adding milk powder makes the curd creamier and tastier.

3. Bring the milk to a lukewarm temperature (100-110 F, 43 C). Make sure it is not cold, the milk must  be lukewarm.

4. Take a bowl with lid, take the curd from the previous day, and gently beat it with a spoon. Gradually add the lukewarm milk and keep mixing. The yogurt or curd culture and the milk must be mixed well. For better result you can strain the mixture once.

5. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm place, I keep it on my kitchen counter. Or you can keep it in the oven with the light on. Or you can heat the microwave for 2-3 mins and place the bowl inside the microwave. It takes 4-5 hours to set the curd, but if you are on cold country it may take 8-12 hours.

Note: Using whole milk will make the curd thicker and creamier, also adding milk powder will do that. Reduce the milk a little while boiling also gives a thicker creamier curd. The choice is yours. For everyday curd I use toned milk. 

There are a thousand different ways to use curd, using it for baking, for making breakfast parfait or having the curd just like that. Here I'm sharing a quick easy raita (yogurt dip) recipe.

Pomegranate Raita:

Beat the curd is a bowl with rock salt and roasted cumin powder. Squeeze some pomegranate to get the juice and add that too. Add some pomegranate seeds and chopped mint leaves. mix everything well and serve. 

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