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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.
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
How to Select
• 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.
• 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 of Curds
1. Improves Digestion : Curd has very good bacteria for aiding digestion in the gut. However only 30% of the curd sold in the supermarkets have Probiotics added to them ( an ingredients that contains good live bacteria) which soothe the stomach. So look for Probiotic Curds in the supermarket as a much better choice than regular curds. Note that homemade curds will not have Probiotics added to them.
2. High in Protein : One cup of curds has 8.7 grams of protein.
3. Low Carbs : Following a low carb diet, have lots of curd. Once cup of curds has only 9 grams of carbs. Try our healthy Raitas.
Intolerant : There are some who are lactose intolerant to milk but okay with curd. It converts lactose present in milk to lactic acid making it easier to digest.
5. High in Calcium : Calcium is a mineral that makes bones stay strong. The human body consistently remove small amounts of calcium from our bones and that has to be topped up with Calcium rich foods. As we age, we need to eat foods high in calcium to make up for this lower absorption and to help maintain the bone strength gained in the former years. One bowl of curd has 426 mg of Calcium which is nearly 45% of RDA for an adult male.
6. Good for those with High Blood Pressure : Curds are rich in Potassium which will help balance the sodium levels in your body.
Glycemic Index of Curds, Yoghurt
Curds (Yoghurt) has a Glycemic Index of 14 which is low. Glycemic Index are for foods you eat, ranks carbohydrate-containing foods by how quickly they digest and raise your blood sugar or glucose levels. Foods rank from 0 to 50 are low GI, 51 to 69 are medium and 70 to 100 are high. Foods like Yoghurt have a low GI and hence don't spike your glucose level as they are absorbed slowly. Great for weight loss.
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