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Rich source of calcium & riboflavin, readily digestible proteins, an ideal diet for sensitive digestive systems and what not. Could it be in the form of lassi or buttermilk or let it be as it is, the most delicious of all! Curd is used in numerous ways in Indian culinary art. Over 50 per cent of the total milk in the country is converted in curd.

During the process of making curd, bacteria convert milk into curd and predigest milk protein. These bacteria then inhibit the growth of hostile or illness‑causing bacteria inside the intestinal tract and promote beneficial bacteria needed for digestion. These friendly bacteria facilitate the absorption of minerals and aid in the synthesis of vitamins of B group. Buttermilk, which has same nutritive and curative value as curd, is prepared by churning curd and adding some water, removing the fat in the form of butter.

Orla Jensen of Copenhagen, author of Lactic Acid Bacteria, observes that yogurt and fermented beverages may be frequently used in case of gastric irritation where other food cannot be retained by stomach. The lactic acid, he says, is completely metabolized to carbondioxide and water is not excreted in the urine. It also does not have any effect on acid-base balance in the system. It is thus an alkaline food. Besides aiding in the digestion of food, curd decreases dryness and gas in the stomach by helping in secretion of hydrochloric acid, pepsin and renin.

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I was unaware of making good quality curd in my initial days of marriage. As curd is ineluctable in my diet, I knew there must be some standard methods of making it.

I researched and got a solution; Curd is produced by the controlled fermentationof milk by two species of bacteria (Lactobacillus sp. and Streptococcus sp.).  The sugar in milk (called lactose) is fermented to acid (lactic acid) and it is this that causes the characteristic curd to form.  The acid also restricts the growth of food poisoning bacteria and some spoilage bacteria.  So, whereas milk is a potential source of food poisoning and only has a shelf life of a few days, curd is safer and can be kept for up to ten days, under proper storage conditions.   

For making curd you need a starter culture. Buy a packet of curd from any desi stores to get that Indian taste; I got it from one of my friend’s place. In US, I have heard of people getting it from India. I don’t know how far it’s true but genuinely accepted it.

Boil half a gallon of milk [could be 2% or whole milk, but not low fat] & cool till its luke warm [40-45°C]. Add starter culture, be generous and add half a cup into a clean canister preferably made of steel or porcelain. Loosen the curd & add the warm milk to it. Keep this overnight or for 6 to 8 hours. In cold countries, keep the container either in a preheated oven [150F] or switch on the oven lamp until the whole fermentation is carried out, 6 to 8 hrs or could be more in winter days. Also, I have heard to get thicker consistency people do add 1 tbsp of milk powder to it. If possible, then cool the curd in a refrigerator until it is eaten.

 Thought of making curd rice after scrumptious curd making session. Curd rice is one great comfort food . One could enjoy good tasting even with pickles or chutneys.

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Loosen curd [2cups with half a cup of water] & make sure it’s sour enough, if more then add milk. Splutter mustard, cumin & urad daal in a pan with few tbsp of oil. Add a pinch of asafetida. Add curry leaves few, green chilies chopped [4], ginger chopped ½ tsp. Stir for a while. Add curd & switch of the gas. Add cooked rice [2 cups, salt added while cooking] & stir all at once.Garnish with coriander leaves & have it with pickles or chutneys of your choice.

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