I have noticed that the refrigerators in most Indian households contain a bottle of buttermilk. I know it is added to raita to make it tangier, spiced up for a cooling drink on a hot day and marinating chiles while they dry in the sun. It is even guzzled directly from the bottle after someone has overeaten a meal with way to many chiles. But, in what other recipes is it used?
Several curry recipes are made with buttermilk as the foundation. The most famous and popular with children is Buttermilk Lassi, in which cardamom, rose water and sugar are mixed with buttermilk and yogurt for a very refreshing drink. A recipe from Kerala that is often served at wedding receptions with plain rice, Malabar Kaalan, is a simple vegetable curry in which buttermilk is the primary ingredient. In my Malabar Shrimp Curry, also from Kerala, the buttermilk is perfectly matched with select spices for a delicious curry. This recipe happens to be one of my favorites. One cup of buttermilk is added to the batter for Rava Dosa to give it the right tang and a light consistency.
What if I don’t have any buttermilk?
Many recipes exist for homemade buttermilk. In fact they can easily be found all over the Internet. Some use yogurt and milk, others use milk and a mild acid.
Here is the recipe I use:
- Add 1 mark with whole milk and stir. Sit the cup on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before using the buttermilk. Use it just as you would use commercial buttermilk.
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