Dahi is handy!

by Sanjeev Kapoor

As a food, what do you call dahi at your home? Dahi or curd or curds or yogurt? In fact, as you read on you will realize that I use all names with ease! 

Whatever you name it, it sure is a handy food to have in the fridge. A kadhi with rice, a raita with pulao, a hung yogurt filling for a sandwich, a refreshing glass of lassi or chaas, or simple dahi cheeni as a dessert to end the meal…here I have just begun listing some of the uses of dahi!

There are countless tips on how to set a good firm dahi. In fact, what has baffled many is how to set dahi without the starter. How many times have you realized that the last of the dahi is over and you forgot to keep a bit of starter for the next lot! Then it is either a store bought jar of dahi or some from the local dairy. 

To make perfect yogurt

Heat a litre of whole full cream milk, bring it to a boil and reduce to around four cups. Remove from heat and cool it till it comes to a temperature of 45° C. Add one tablespoon of thick yogurt and mix evenly with a spoon or churner/whisker. Transfer the mixture into an earthenware pot and allow to set in a warm place (at 43°C) for four hours (in summer, otherwise may take longer). In winter or in places at higher altitudes one can always wrap the pot in which you are setting the yogurt in a blanket or a similar warm wrapping. Always remove a small quantity aside for setting the yogurt for the following day before you consume the rest. Refrigerate once set. 

Fun food 

I love the way my mother makes dahi bhalle…she stuffs the bhalle with nuts and raisins. I also enjoy Gujarati Kadhi a lot. Who can deny the pleasures of a well made Dahi Batata Puri that is probably as popular as a street food as bhelpuri! Dahi makes a fantastic marinade for chicken and meat preparations. In fact, hung yogurt has its own following. Can make sandwich filling, can make dips, can make shrikhand, or can also make some kababs! 

Curd rice, a simple mix of curd and rice – sometimes tempered, sometimes not – is the famed meal ender in the southern parts of the country. Dahi Idli is also a filling and healthy snack. Go North, and lassi is THE beverage! Mishti Doi from Bengal is a super dessert made with reduced milk. Take a litre of milk and boil till it reduces to half. Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly. Add half cup sugar to the thickened milk and mix till sugar dissolves. Heat another half a cup of sugar in a pan on low heat till it caramelizes. Add it to the hot milk and whisk vigorously till well blended. Set aside to cool. When the milk is at room temperature (slightly lukewarm) stir in two teaspoons yogurt till well mixed. Set overnight in a warm place. Chill when set. Serve chilled. Make this in small earthenware pots and make any festive family meal memorable. 

Handy tips

  • Instead of using lemon juice for making paneer, put three to four teaspoons of dahi in the boiling milk and stir. You will get soft and pure white paneer.
  • If your dahi has become too sour, drain off the water by tying it in a muslin cloth and hanging it for about 15 minutes. Add milk or water to the residue.
  • To prevent dahi from turning sour, do not add salt while making raita, etc. Add it just at the time of serving.
  • Add small fried pieces of bread to very well beaten dahi. Sprinkle salt, cumin powder, red chilli powder and you have some quick dahi wadas for the family. 

Recommended recipes -  Dahi Papad Ki Sabzi,  Mixed Fruit Yogurt Brulee,  Masala Papdi With Dahi Boondi,  Dahiwale Amrud,  Dahi Wale Aloo,  Dahi Methi Murgh

website of the year 2013
website of the year 2014
website of the year 2016
MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.