Ajesh Deshpande, 28, a line cook at Eleven Madison Park, in Manhattan, noticed that many of his colleagues had taken a keen interest in fermentation, particularly yogurt.
Ms. Sinha, 23, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., and is the social media editor for the website MyRecipes, had two pet turtles that she brought to each new home. When she came back, her yogurt had turned rancid. But as a working parent, she would rather spend her limited time making other dishes from scratch. South Asian yogurt is typically made with a more acidic culture, the descendant of a yogurt that was originally created by curdling milk. Follow NYT Food on Twitter and NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. But accidents can happen. Kyle Dean Reinford for The New York Times.
To many who enjoy it, it’s a cure-all.
More important than the yogurt itself, a long-lived starter culture can become an heirloom, the physical representation of a lineage that can be passed on to future generations. Homemade yogurt is central to South Asian cuisines, and home cooks hand down their distinctive starter cultures, wherever they are in the world. One of the oldest items in my childhood home in Dallas is a yogurt culture. Ms. Vasavada’s mother had done something similar when she arrived in 1986: She wrapped a tiny container of yogurt in carbon paper, believing that an airport X-ray machine couldn’t detect it. He is thinking about bringing in his mother’s yogurt culture — it was brought to her 16 years ago by a friend from Rishikesh, in the Himalayan foothills — for his fellow cooks to experiment with. But sometime between 1500 and 500 B.C., it became a staple food among the Vedic Aryans, pastoral people who raised buffalos and cows, said Pushpesh Pant, a historian and the author of “India: The Cookbook.”. Heirloom yogurt starters have earned the praise of Sandor Ellix Katz, author of several books about fermentation and one of the most outspoken advocates of the … The homemade version “had this richness that absorbs the khichdi,” she said.
Yogurt, which was probably discovered after milk had accidentally curdled, was a highly practical dairy product: It had a long shelf life; its cooling properties helped people tolerate warm climates; it could tenderize meat when used as a marinade; and it aided digestion. “I was so upset, you could not believe it,” she said. This yogurt tasted alive. Sumayya Usmani, 46, a food writer in Glasgow whose family is from Karachi, Pakistan, said making yogurt from scratch “is the closest way that I feel the memories associated with my mom. “I remember we had the turtles on one side of the back seat, and then the yogurt culture in a bowl on the other side,” she said. Her parents’ constant was their yogurt culture.
Matsoni Heirloom Yogurt: Also known as Caspian Sea Yogurt, this culture originates from Georgia and the surrounding caucasus region. Refrigeration recommended. It just wasn’t as firm.”, The South Asian love affair with yogurt can be traced back to to 3500 B.C., when it was first consumed by the Indus Valley civilization, in what is now part of western India and Pakistan. “Nobody in my family liked the taste. It is designed to thicken the milk before the fermentation is completed where a majority of bacteria are out of hibernation and fully activated. “My mom’s old methods being used at one of the best restaurants in the world.”. “If anything went wrong, I was given yogurt,” said Naz Deravian, 46, the Iranian-American author of the 2018 cookbook “Bottom of the Pot.” “Burns or cuts, hair growth, skin. Ingredients.
My dad started making yogurt when he and my mother immigrated to America from Delhi, India, in 1980. “It is a community thing,” Ms. Sinha said. Tailor serves yogurt made with his mother’s culture alongside dal bhat, or lentils with rice, and in a falooda-inspired panna cotta, with rose-flavored yogurt, vermicelli and strawberries, that will soon be added to the menu.
But for many South Asians who have emigrated, the most important element is the starter culture — the ingredient that not only gives each yogurt its unique, familiar flavor, but also allows yogurt makers to preserve and perpetuate their heritage across time and space.
These heirloom-variety, dehydrated yogurt starters from Cultures for Health might be a fun alternative. South Asian yogurt is typically made with a more acidic culture, the descendant of a yogurt that was originally created by curdling milk. Direct-set or single-use cultures are added to a batch of milk to produce a single batch of yogurt. Organic milk, live active cultures. They had been given the culture by an Indian couple in Tyler, Tex., when they immigrated in 1994.
Non-dairy milks generally cannot be re-cultured. Now that commercial yogurt is widely available at grocery stores, some younger people have no interest in continuing their families’ tradition, even if they feel sentimental about it. There was never store-bought yogurt in our house, because none compared to my father’s velvety, tart homemade tufts. For many who work in restaurants, however, tinkering with their family yogurt culture can hold a special appeal. Ms. Usmani has a point. Because of this, Mr. Pant said, yogurt was considered sacred and pure.
My refrigerator space is limited, and I travel often. The strains in many Western yogurt brands are chosen to produce milder-tasting, more homogeneous curds. Hetal Vasavada, the San Francisco author of the cookbook “Milk & Cardamom,” said that when her grandmother first came from Gujarat in 1991 to live with her family in Bloomfield, N.J., she tucked some yogurt from home into the folds of her sari blouse and sneaked it through customs. We ate it alongside every meal, as a cooling respite to the spices in our dals and sabzis. At Tailor, the dal bhat and a falooda-flavored panna cotta (to be added to the menu soon) are both made with a yogurt culture from Mr. Surti's mother. By my father’s estimate, it has been around for 25 years and seven months. He vigorously mixes in a spoonful of the culture, then pours everything into a large stainless steel container. Heat the yogurt for 14 hours. Luckily, my father, Shailendra Krishna, keeps two containers of emergency culture in the freezer — and has successfully used them a few times. Now I am teaching my daughter how to do it. Everybody was complaining.” Eventually, she was able to borrow some culture from a friend. “It is that full mouth feel,” Vivek Surti, 33, the managing partner at the Indian-inspired restaurant Tailor, in Nashville, said of his mother’s yogurt. I can’t recall a single day, growing up, when the fridge was without yogurt, or as it’s known in Hindi, dahi. If you don’t keep your culture going, it can go bad. Heat up one pint of milk in a clean glass mason jar to about 180F. We also see on the market starter cultures for yogurt with maltodextrin and/or other additives as the sachet is usually between 6 to 10 grams. My boyfriend broke up with me? The starters contain bacterial cultures propagated in different regions of the world, each bringing unique qualities of taste and consistency. (Arielle Johnson, a food scientist, confirmed that most bacteria can survive freezing.). Our Heirloom yogurt starter cultures are shipped in barrier-sealed packets as freeze-dried yogurt cultures. Have some yogurt.”. Since yogurt is a cultured food, to make a successful batch you need a nice warm spot in the house (or the ability to create a nice, warm spot for the yogurt) and an active culture. “Her own narrative is encased in this.”. Arpita Mehta, 26, a brand strategist living in New Jersey, grew up eating homemade yogurt mixed with khichdi, a lentil and rice stew. He grew up eating homemade yogurt, and he makes it at least once a week, with no thermometers or special equipment.
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