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Curd has a special place on the plate and palate of India. No Indian meal is complete without some form of dahi showing up on the table. The product of the lactic fermentation of milk, curd is esteemed for both its smoothness and refreshing taste. When making curd at home use only pure milk. Before it curdles, milk should be boiled for about 10 minutes and the temperature should be brought down to a lukewarm state. Freshly cultured starter should be then added and mixed thoroughly with the milk. 1 teaspoon of starter is sufficient enough for 55 m1 bowl of milk. The quality of the curd depends to a great extent on the starter used. In summer, milk curdles easily in about 6 to 8 hours but in winter it could take between 10 to 12 hours, hence ensure that it is kept in a warm place.
Sour curd is also known as "Khatta Dahi." It can be made by adding more culture to the warm milk and keeping it out for a long time after it has set. Also, left over curd can be turned sour by keeping it out of refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours. Once the curd becomes sour, store it in the refrigerator as keeping it outside will make it sourer to the point of becoming unpalatable. Such curds is used to make kadhi, dhokla batter etc...
Beat the curd thoroughly using a beater or churner until a smooth texture is attained. Add powdered sugar or sugar granules and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate the same and use it as desired.
Curd is an inevitable item in our daily food and firm curd is what pleases the eye. To attain thick curds, whole fat milk (buffalo's milk) should be used. Cow's milk on the other hand gives a jelly like curd. Thick curds when set and chilled can be relished on its own or can be used for making raitas or lassi.
How to Select
Beating or whisking adds volume to the curd by adding air to it. Spoon out the required amount of curd in a vessel. Beat the curds well with a beater or churner until you attain a smooth mixture. Add water to attain the desired consistency
• If buying readymade curds, always check the date stamp on the carton when purchasing.
• The date is usually a sell-by date, which means the yogurt is still safe to eat several days beyond that date.
• Containers should be refrigerated and tightly sealed. Culinary Uses
• A bowl of fresh curd and fruits is a great way to kick start your day.
• A simple dressing of curds, salt, pepper and coriander goes with any fresh greens salad.
• For salad dressings and dips, sour cream and plain yogurt can be used interchangeably.
• During summer 'Raita' keeps one cool. A raita is a simple preparation made by adding fruits, vegetables or any other thing to beaten curds.
• Use yogurt instead of fresh cream to thicken gravies in a healthier way.
• Make fluffy pancakes for breakfast by mixing flour into buttermilk and adding a fruit of your choice.
• Mix a generous spoonful of curd into the atta while binding dough for chapattis, theplas or parathas. This not only adds nutrition but also makes them softer and fluffier.
• Chhach or Lassi, is consumed as a refreshing beverage. Buttermilk spiced with ginger, green chillies and pepper is a healthy alternative to colas.
• Curd can be relished both with salt and sugar as it goes well with almost everything. It can be used in a variety of recipes, from sweet deserts to spicy side dishes.
• As far as listing the various dishes prepared with curd are concerned, the list is endless. Raitas, pachadis, kadhi, dahiwada... etc., Be it east or west, north or south, every region in India has its own special curd preparation.
• Because of the acid content of yogurt, it makes a fabulous marinade. Yogurt tenderizes baked goods and helps keep them moist, particularly in breads using dried fruits
• Sour curds can be added to vegetables curries in place of tomatoes to make rich and delicious gravy.How to Store
• Store in fridge. It can be stored at low temperatures (less than 5 degrees C) for several weeks.
• You can usually store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks but it becomes much stronger at the end of that period. When using partial amounts from the container, remove what you need, then immediately cover and return the container to the refrigerator. Like sour cream, yogurt tends to separate a cloudy watery liquid near the end of its life.
• You'll just have to experiment with brands, flavours, and fruit additives available in your area if you have the need to freeze it for preservation. Health Benefits
• Curd is a very nourishing food. It is a valuable source of protein, calcium and minerals.
• Curd has zero carbs, zero sugars and zero trans fats, with enough calcium for growing bones.
• It is a mild laxative but, in case of diarrhoea and dysentery, it is a boon, if used with rice.
• It boosts immune response.
• Yoghurt helps prevent muscle cramps and osteoporosis as it boosts the body's ability to build strong bones.
• Curd is very helpful for preventing and delaying degeneration of the body. It purifies blood, keeps digestive system healthy, and has more vitamin B Complex than milk.
• Curd serves as a very good medicine. It has an enzyme that keeps the body cool.