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When the buttermilk possibilities are endless…

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Plain, spiced or flavoured, the ways to enjoy a glass of buttermilk are almost as diverse as India’s tastebuds

Mention the word buttermilk, and fans of this common pro-biotic drink will begin gushing. Especially during summer, it is hard to find anyone who would refuse a glass.

Buttermilk or chaas is the go-to-drink in many households, as it is quick to make and easy to flavour (all you need is a sprinkling of ready-made chaat masala).

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An everyday buttermilk has salt and roasted cumin powder. Another favourite ingredient is roughly crushed ajwain seeds.

Chefs suggest adding spices that are used for everyday cooking. Those looking to make buttermilk a post-meal drink, should try flavouring it with a freshly made paste of mint, coriander leaves and green chillies.

According to home chef Saba Shiraz Khan, who runs Biryani Stories Hyd in Hyderabad, adding one tablespoon of the paste to a litre of buttermilk is enough to flavour it. “This is a favourite drink at our iftar get-togethers. When we cater food for parties and buttermilk is requested, we try a range of flavours depending on what kind of food we are serving. Mint-coriander is the most popular, others being jeera and rock salt.”

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Amla Chaas (Amla buttermilk), recipe by Sangeeta Khanna

  • Ingredients: 1 amla (remove the seed); ½ cup curd; 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves; 1 cup water; Rock salt to taste; Ice cubes; ½ teaspoon roasted cumin seed powder; ½ inch ginger
  • Method: In a blender blend the amla, curd, ginger, curry leaves and rock salt. Add the cup of water and blend well again. Add ice, sprinkle roasted cumin seeds powder and serve.

Other readily available ingredients to flavour buttermilk are fresh ginger, and fresh mango ginger.

A hint of pink

Blogger, food and nutrition consultant Sangeeta Khanna suggests making it with a little splash of steamed beetroot juice or with Indian gooseberry.

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Sangeeta says, “Beetroot buttermilk looks appealing and is an instant energy booster. A lot of athletes drink beetroot juice. To make the beetroot chaas, the beetroot juice should not be used raw. Instead, the juice extracted after steaming it should go into the buttermilk and then flavoured accordingly. A simple tempering with fresh curry leaves is enough to take the flavour several notches up. Another option is the amla (Indian gooseberry) buttermilk. The ideal measurement to make the amla-chaas is the juice of one amla to every glass of buttermilk.”

According to Sangeeta, the easiest flavouring powder that can be made at home and kept to be used readily whenever buttermilk is prepared, is a dry mix of roasted cumin seeds and mint powder. To it, she suggests adding a pinch of roasted asafoetida. She adds, “Serve with freshly crushed mint leaves.”

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