What’s the ultimate health food?

by Sanjeev Kapoor

You don’t have to look beyond your refrigerator! Yogurt according to latest scientific research may be the ultimate health food! It’s loaded with goodness and as naani never tired of saying, a glass of chilled chass or lassi, could do you more good than cooling you down in the scorching summer heat. Here’s how  :

Probiotics and nutrients – The process of fermentation to make yogurt improves its nutritive quality as the microorganisms added to it enhance the Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 content in it. Yogurt comes loaded with calcium, protein, phosphorous, zinc and riboflavin and several types of vitamins– that are all essential to maintain good health. 

Losing weight – Yogurt is low in fat and high on nutrients. Moreover, it is very easy to digest and does help you lose pounds faster. You can go one step further and make yogurt with low fat or skimmed milk. Blend it along with your choice of fresh fruit to make a delicious fruit smoothie – a perfect post workout and breakfast food option.  

Hair and Skin Benefits – Eating your daily dose of dahi will not just make you fitter from inside; it keeps your hair and skin glowing too. Make a face pack using yogurt, turmeric and some gram flour for radiant skin. Yogurt acts as a natural moisturizer – keeping the skin soft and blemish free! For the hair it helps reducing dryness and split ends. Mix it along with egg yolk and fenugreek seeds and apply to the scalp to prevent hair fall. 

Calcium – Milk and dairy products such as yogurt, cheeses, and buttermilk contain a more efficiently absorbed form of calcium, which is one of the most important minerals for growth and maintenance of the body. Also, very important for healthy and strong bones! Regular consumption of it is said to make teeth whiter and healthier. 

Good for the stomach – Yogurt is always a good option to overcome tummy troubles and other problems like diarrhea. It helps stabilize the stomach when it gets upset by invasion of bacteria. Certain medications like antibiotics wipe out both good and bad bacteria from the digestive tract, the probiotics in yogurt can help restore this upset balance. Ulcer causing bacteria have something to fear when the microorganisms from yogurt take over.

Better option for lactose intolerant people - It has been observed that yogurt is better tolerated than milk among people suffering from milk intolerance. The bacteria break down the sugar and lactose found in milk. Hence there is a lesser chance for lactose intolerance to be seen. It is a better source of calcium for those who cannot consume milk.

Cooking uses – Chilled yogurt along with steamed rice is a great tasting meal in itself, add a hint of pickle on the side for a chatpata tang. Yogurt is also used in several ways in the kitchen. To thicken gravies, give them more body or add a little tang to them – yogurt is what comes to your aid. Even most marinades for meat and seafood dishes contain yogurt because it acts as a tenderizer for tough meat and even gets rid of some of the fishy smell from seafood.

Now that you know why you need to include this super food in your daily diet, we give you a few tips on how to set the perfect yogurt.
How to set good yogurt

If you want to set a good batch of curd, use good quality milk, preferably full cream milk. Undiluted and fresh milk will give you thick well set bowl of curd that will stay fresh longer. 

Before it is curdled the milk should be boiled for five to six minutes and then bought down to lukewarm temperature.
Boil one litre of milk, approx. 5 cups for five to six minutes or till it is slightly reduced in quantity – till say 4 cups. Freshly curdled starter should then be added and mixed thoroughly to the milk. Generally one teaspoon of starter is sufficient for every half a litre of milk.

Transfer the mixture into an earthenware pot and to set in a warm place for around four hours in summer or when the temperature is high.
In winter or in places at higher altitudes you can wrap the pot in which you are setting the yogurt in muslin or a similar warm covering. Or simply set it in the oven or microwave when not in use. 

Always remove a small quantity aside for setting the yogurt for the following day before you consume the rest.
Refrigerate once set.

During the scorching summer months, make sure you incorporate this super food in your daily diet. For recipes browse through SanjeevKapoor.com

Recommended recipes-

Dahiwale Tinde,  Non-Fried Dahi Wade,  Dahi Fruit Chiwda,  Teen Dal Ke Dahi Bhalle,  Set Curd Rice,  Dahiwala Cake,  Masala Papdi With Dahi Boondi,  Curd Jowar,  Boondi Raita,  Miniature Tarts With Lemon Curd And Mangoes

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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.