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Yummylicious yoghurt

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Desi dahi gets a makeover, tickling taste buds with fruit yoghurts and smoothies

It looks like a milkshake; it’s rich, creamy and delicious. The difference is you can down this guilt-free. There’s no ice cream or full cream milk that goes into its making unlike a regular milkshake. The milk, the ice cream and the generous amount of crushed ice are replaced by low-fat yoghurt and fresh fruits. Well-travelled Indians are familiar with yoghurt chains in the U.S., Europe and South East Asia. Flavoured non-fat yoghurt topped with fruits and nuts or worked into a fruit smoothie are pick-me-ups at international airports as well. Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai and now Hyderabad boast of their share of yogurt-smoothie bars.

Humble dahi reinvented itself a couple of years ago urging foodies to think beyond raitas, buttermilk and lassis. Fruit flavoured yoghurt, yoghurt desserts and pro-biotic yoghurts adorned the shelves of supermarkets. Those cued into health foods whipped up yoghurt smoothies at home to beat the heat.

“A dessert made with hung curd, sugar and fruits is much better than ice creams and Indian sweets,” says Sheila Krishnaswamy, founder of NICHE (Nutrition, Information, Counselling and Health Education).

“Curd is rich in calcium, protein, Vitamin B12 and B5 and calories from fat are far lesser than in ice creams,” she reasons.

For those of you who think a smoothie is a fruit lassi in the garb of a milkshake, here’s some help. Frozen yoghurt used in the preparations of smoothies is made with hung curd.

With the excess water drained off, the yoghurt is whipped into a smooth, creamy consistency and mixed with fruit pulp of choice. Sugar is optional and so is gelatine, which is added to give a creamy consistency.

The tough part in India, nevertheless, is to market the idea to a population that incorporates dahi into its daily meal plan — as plain curd, lassi, buttermilk and curd rice. Step into any South Indian home and no meal is complete without a helping of curd rice and pickle.

“Yoghurt chains are success stories in the West where people are primarily meat eaters and don’t make curd at home. They preferred buying flavoured yoghurts off supermarket shelves. But we’ve been making curd at homes for centuries. In our cuisine, pro-biotic variants do not carry more benefits than normal low-fat curd,” adds Sheela.

The next time you crave for a dessert, try whisking chilled hung curd with fruit pulp of your choice. Top it with fruits and nuts for a quick fix dessert.

SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

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