Summer is upon us, and the scrumptious curd will return as a body cooler in our diets, after all its health benefits are aplenty. We at GT were intrigued by its origins, thus went on a discovery trail. Don’t miss trying out the good creamy treats you can rustle up at home.
Who discovered yogurt?
If there is cattle, then curd will follow. We may not know who discovered curd, but historians agree that it must have been a part of our ancestors’ diet since the domestication of animals. The Mesopotamians are often credited for figuring out how to prepare the sour goodness.
Transport back to 5000 BC, imagining Mesopotamian herdsmen carrying milk in the pouches made from an animal’s stomach. These animal belly bags contained chymosin, a natural enzyme that results in curdling of milk. The natural culture in milk and the warm conditions in Turkey gave the world yogurt, meaning ‘to be curdled or to thicken.’ With time perhaps came the realization that the resultant curd or cheese lasts longer than fresh milk, and has a few health perks too.
On the Record
It was in 1st century AD that Roman philosopher and naval commander, Pliny the Elder, wrote about ancient barbaric nations that knew how ‘to thicken milk into a substance with an agreeable consistency.’ The tomes written in 11th century AD, Diwan Lughat-al-Turk by Mahmud Ka shgari and Kutadgu Bilig by Yusuf Has Hajib, refer to the use of curd by nomadic Turks.
In the Vedas, what we call today dahi is mentioned as dadhi. The treatises on Ayurveda, Charaka Samhita
and Sushruta Samhita talk about the therapeutic characteristics of the fermented milk creation.
The daily dose of dahi, lassi, or chach will give you a healthy dose of animal protein, and rich nutrients like calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B-2.
The beneficial bugs ‘probiotics’ found in curd that also live in your digestive tract, help eliminate harmful microorganisms that can cause intestinal infections. Our gut and immunity will definitely get a boost if we gorge on yogurt.
The potassium in curd helps in flushing out excess salt from our bodies, protecting us from hypertension,
and kidney and heart ailments. The presence of vitamin
B-12 in curd, which maintains red blood cells, ensures we have a good nervous system. In short, eating curd can make us smart.
Ayurvedic experts, lay emphasis on using home-made yogurt instead of the processed one that is present on the shelves. Once refrigerated, the quantity of friendly bacteria in curd decreases, making it less healthy for our gut. The store-bought curd is not only cold, and heavy, but becomes difficult to digest. Ouch!?Defeats the purpose.
What’s in a Name?
The humble creamy goodness has unique names indigenously and across the globe.
• India – Dahi is mentioned as Dadhi in the Vedas
• Greece – Tiaourti
• Turkey – Jugurt or Eyran
• Indonesia – Dadih
• Nepal – Dhau
• Karnataka – Mosaru
• Tamil Nadu – Thayir
• Kerala – Thayiru
Why run to the neighborhood frozen yogurt store or ice-cream booth, when you can whip up lip-smacking goodness at home. Don your chef hats!
Frozen Fruit Delight
1 cup hung curd
1 cup choice of fruit: Banana, mango, strawberry
Honey to taste
Strain excess water from the curd using muslin cloth, keep aside. In a different bowl, mash your choice of fruit using a fork, and add honey to taste. Blend the hung curd and fruit pulp together. Keep it aside in a cool corner of your house, or refrigerate to sample a healthy yogurt dessert.
1 litre milk
1 spoon yogurt
1 cup date jaggery (khajur gud), grated
Boil and reduce milk to half. Let it cool slightly; blend grated jaggery till it completely melts. Add yogurt to the lukewarm mixture, and leave it overnight to set in a warm place. Chill it the next day, before you dig in the sweet goodness.
At GT, we don’t promote junk! Want a creamy dip for sandwiches, or on the side with vibrant veggies? Five minutes is all it takes.
1 cup hung curd
2 pods garlic, finely grated
Salt to taste
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup cucumber, finely chopped
Mix all the components together to enjoy the dip
with veggie sticks, or enjoy with roasted papads.
1 cup hung curd
2 tbsp mint chutney
Pinch of ground sugar
Pinch of ground turmeric
Whisk all the ingredients together to prepare a sandwich spread, or enjoy it with any stuffed paratha (rolled flatbread).
IN MY GUT
Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Lactobacillus acidophilus, the bacteria used to make yogurt occur naturally in the human intestine.
The first commercial yogurt dessert was started by Dannon in 1947 by adding strawberry preserves in the cup.
THE WARRIOR’S DIET
Genghis Khan of the Mongol Empire insisted that his army eat, Kumiss (fermented milk) to stay fit.