I can never imagine a meal without curd.Sometimes I can even use it as a side dish for breakfast/ dinner dishes if there is nothing else available.And as for the cooling raitas prepared with the curds, I can eat it as a meal. My love for curd is so much that I have a separate place for it in the recipe index – Yumm Yogurt .Do I need anymore points to prove my love for this delicious thing!!
The health benefits of yogurt are aplenty and mighty impressive!Here are a few that I found interesting…
- Yogurt has a good amount of ‘good’ bacteria,ie live bacteria or Probiotics that are essential to maintain healthy intestinal flora.For this the yogurt must be prepared with live/active bacteria.It helps in conditions like constipation/ diarrhoea/colon cancer/Inflammatory bowel disease and H.pylori infection.
- Lactobacillus casei,a strain of bacteria helps in boosting the immunity.
- Calcium is one important mineral that is required to prevent osteoporosis and yogurt has loads of this vital nutrient.[Calcium is very important for women].Because of the presence of Calcium,it boosts the body’s ability to build bones.
- Prevents and heals arthritis.
- Protects against ulcer.
- It prevents vaginal yeast infections.
- It is also a good source of phosphorus,protein and energy.
- Last but not the least,a study proved that consuming around 90 grams of yogurt/day reduces bad breath and the amount of bacteria coating the tongue,reduces dental plaques,cavities and risk of gingivitis.
To prepare yogurt at home just follow these simple steps.[This is what I do]
- Warm the required quantity of milk.[It should just be ‘lukewarm’.]
- Transfer it into a clean bowl.
- Add the ‘starter’ or a tablespoon of previous days yogurt.
- Mix gently,cover and let it rest in a warm place for a couple of hours.
- Once the yogurt is set store in the refrigerator.
- If you live in a warm place,then the yogurt sets very quickly ,maybe in a couple of hours.If you are living in a cooler [or colder] region then leave it overnight to set.
- When you need yogurt within a couple of hours,follow the method as mentioned above and place the vessel inside a hotbox. This simple process results in curd setting faster and is a secret that mom shared with me :).
- The curd sets and tastes best when set in earthen bowls. The curd is very creamy and delicious.
- Always use undiluted milk.If water is added to milk while boiling the resulting curd is watery and does not taste good.
- If the yogurt is left outside for a long time in summer [or when the climate is warmer] after it sets,it turns sour and hence best to keep it refrigerated.
- Before you finish off the bowl of yogurt made at home,don’t forget to take out a couple of spoons and keep it separately in the fridge for we need it to prepare another bowl of healthy yogurt tomorrow.
Check out Yumm Yogurt which has more than 40 curd/yogurt based recipes.
In case you are not able to make this at home, here are a few things that can be considered before buying it from the store…
- When buying the commercial brands,look for one that mentions ‘active/live bacteria’.Some brands may pasteurise their products thereby killing the ‘friendly’ bacteria and with it all the benefits are lost.
- It is better to avoid buying yogurt with added sweeteners and flavourings.
- Don’t forget to check the ‘expiry date’ when buying the product.