This is not ice-cream… It is thick curd set at home during cold winter in America. Curd has probiotic properties that aids in digestion. Curd has good bacteria that promotes gut and intestinal health. Curd cures an upset stomach. Being rich in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, curd strengthens bones and joints. To gain all the goodness of curd to the fullest, set curd at home and consume fresh. Buttermilk is made by diluting curd with water and then churning it to separate the fats. Diluted & fatless buttermilk outweighs the benefits of curd. Though thick curd allures us, dilute buttermilk is the best for digestive system.
How to set curd in India?
Setting curd in India is so straight forward. No strict rules are required. Mix starter/culture to warm milk & leave it undisturbed are the basics.
1.Boil the milk. Once it is warm, add a teaspoon of curd and mix well. To check the warmness of milk, insert a finger into the milk. It should be hot enough for the finger to be inside the milk for a minute. This finger check is to ensure that the milk is not too hot. It should be warm.
2.Close it and keep it on the countertop or anywhere, undisturbed. You can leave it overnight or a minimum of 4 to 5 hours. Using it before 4 hours will give milky taste. Leaving more than 8 hours will make the curd sour.
Read below to know how to set curd in cold countries? and further below, read the tips for perfect curd. Please find below curd related recipes in our website..
Click here for perfect curd rice recipe..
Click here for Millet curd rice recipe..
Click here for Poosanikai mor kuzhambu/Ashgourd buttermilk gravy.
Click here for Ragi Koozh/Finger Millet buttermilk porridge recipe..
Click here for Kambu Koozh/Pearl Millet buttermilk porridge recipe..
Click here for Kambu Moru/Pearl Millet Buttermilk recipe..
How to set curd in cold countries?
When it comes to setting curd in USA, I follow all the rules from A to Z.
1.Use whole milk for thick and creamy curd. Low fat or reduced fat milk yields thin and watery curd. Wash the vessel and pour milk into wet vessel as dry vessel might cause a thick layer at the bottom.
2.Boil milk in medium flame until it rises above. Switch off and move the vessel to another place. After some time, malai/cream would have formed at the top. If you don’t like this cream layer in your curd, just remove it. You shall whisk & use this fresh cream on top of north-Indian curries to give a rich taste. Or you shall accumulate this cream to make butter/ghee.(click the respective words for recipes)
3.Check if the milk is warm, by inserting a finger into the milk. It should be hot enough for the finger to be inside the milk for a minute. This finger check is to ensure that the milk is not too hot. It should be warm. Take a ladle full of warm milk and pour it into 1 tsp curd(starter/culture).
4.Mix the milk well with curd to form a uniform mix. Then pour this mix into the warm milk and mix well with a spoon. This step is to ensure uniform mix of culture with the milk.
5.Just after mixing the starter, keep the vessel closed inside the grill oven with light on. Do not switch on the oven 😉 Keep the vessel as far away from the light, else the heat from light will make it let out water. Keeping away from the light will ensure mild warm temperature that is apt for curd to set thick. Close the oven and leave it undisturbed for 5 hours or overnight, until set.
Read the tips below to know more about the preferred type of containers, sourcing starter and storage.
Tips to set curd at home:
- If you add starter to hot milk, your curd will have grainy strands. If you add starter to milk at room temperature, your curd might not set well. So, always make sure the milk is warm by using finger check and then add your starter.
- Once set, consume fresh or refrigerate (immediately after set) and use it within 2 to 3 days. After 3 days, you shall use the remaining curd to make paneer. Click here to see how?
- Don’t leave a spoon/ladle inside the curd as it will separate the water from the curd and make it watery.
- The time taken for the curd to set depends on the temperature. In summer it sets faster than in winter.
- Do not insert a spoon before the curd sets completely. To check if it is set, you can just lift the container and slightly move it to see if the entire content is thick as a whole mass.
- In cold countries during winter, use steel container to set curd as ceramic or glass containers will take longer time to set. During hot summer, you can use ceramic or glass containers to avoid sour curds.
- If you still have issues in setting curd, try to use the same vessel that you boiled milk to set the curd, rather than transferring it to another container.
- I have seen friends going out for a long holiday, store a teaspoon of curd in freezer to preserve the curd culture. Then they bring it to room temperature (do not heat it) and use it as starter to set curd. But I am not sure about the taste of the curd. Just give it a try & continue if you like the smell and taste of curd made with frozen starter.
- You can use store-bought curd as starter. Do not get yogurt. Get curd/dahi from Indian stores. First, use 1 tbsp curd to set 1/4 cup milk, using above explained method. Then use this 1/4 cup curd(fully) as the starter to set 1 cup curd. You can start consuming this curd. Use more curd as starter until you get thick curd.
- If you don’t have any starter, you can try making curd with dry red chillies as they are rich in lactobacilli bacteria that helps in fermentation of milk to form curd.. Follow the same method as in this post, but instead of starter, add 1 or 2 dry red chillies to warm milk. Make sure the chillies have the stem in it. Do not pluck the stem or break the chilli. Just put the full chillies with the stem and keep it closed. Make in small quantity just for the starter. You cannot consume this starter. Using this starter, you can set another batch of curd and that can be consumed. You won’t get thick curd in the beginning. But, after few attempts, you will get thick curd.
- I got my curd culture/starter from my opposite house maami. Getting starter from Indian friends is the best option.
- After making curd, always take a tsp of freshly made curd in a small container and store in the fridge as we might miss to preserve some last curd for the next starter.
- If the starter is sour, use very little (say 1/4 tsp in summer and 1/2 tsp in winter) to make the next batch.
- If you are setting curd at home, at least make it twice in a week so that your starter doesn’t go sour.