During our trip last year to Coorg ( A popular hill station in Karnataka, India ) we took a short trek for a famous Waterfall. That was our very first Official encounter with the rough and humid breeze of the South. And hence we weren’t prepared well enough. As it had to happen, very soon we ran out of the water despite carrying almost 10 ltr of water in merely an hour of starting the trek. And the trek wasn’t even half covered by then. All drained and blistered, we continued walking for another mile. Just before we were about to give up on God’s existence and lie flat on the rough road, we caught up a glance of a small shop on the edge of the hill. There it was !! Our Saviour !! With loads of fresh tender coconuts roped in and a huge Matki filled of Chhaas. Ohh, what a wave of bliss it was.. just to look at it…
We ran wearily, huffing and puffing towards it. By the time we reached there, all of us were panting and completely out of breath. I guess the shopkeeper was so used to such melodramatic scenes at his nook, he didn’t even bothered asking us what we wanted. Instead, he asked his helper to hand us with a Tender Coconut each. Within seconds we all were sipping fresh water out and our “guy” had already started pouring Chhaas in the individual glasses. We were so tired by then, none of us refused the service and gulped the drinks down immediately. After what it seems to be like an Eternity, each one of us was down at least 1 glass of Chaas and water from 1 big coconut. I had a lot more than that.. Our bodies were back to the normal state in a few minutes and we bought a couple of more water bottles for the rest of our journey. Although we were looking for the Public toilets for the next half an hour, that’s a story for some other time. But I bet this Shopkeeper must make a fortune with that little corner of his. In fact, we discussed later on that none of us had asked about the price or even counted the change he returned back to us. No price could match the lifesaving drink marathon we had, literally !
So anyway – coming to the recipe for today which is related to this short story above. ButterMilka.k.a Matha a.k.a Chhaas a.k.a Chhachh is an integral part of Indian Diet in Summers. It is a low fat, high in calcium and Protein, cooling drink which makes a very good digestive as well. And it’s among the very few drinks which are not sweet so it’s a refreshing boon for those watching their weight. Although being called by various different names, the basic recipe remains the same for every region. With just a little change in spices here and there of course..
What is Buttermilk ?
It is simply, the whey liquid that remains after butter is churned out of the milk. Like, literally .. that’s what it is. For a long time, I was under impression that buttermilk is diluted yogurt. But it’s not ! Rather that’s a better by-product of Yogurt which is recommended in Ayurveda for the calm and peace of body. As it is yogurt is stated highly in Ayurveda for the healthy living. And buttermilk is all the goodness of yogurt Minus the fats. So that makes it a substantially low fat drink with immense nutritional benefits.
How to make Buttermilk at home ?
Like I said above, I used to believe that buttermilk is simply yogurt diluted with water. And I know that many of us still believe in that. The whole process of making buttermilk is not that difficult but then it’s a bit time consuming and you need to plan a bit ahead of time to do so. In my earlier post on “ How to make Ghee from scratch”, I have described in detail, the method of how you can keep stacking the home accumulated cream ( or store bought double cream ) to eventually convert it into Ghee. That’s a tad long route, but the best one to prepare the real Ghee, which can be termed as “Pure Gold”. The butter milk emerges as an incentive to the ghee that we get at the end. I have summarised the prcess below for you, but I fyou are keen to get more info on the ghee making process and the benefits as per Ayurveda etc. refer to this link here.
- Take 1 big bowl full of full fat yoghurt, chilled and add equal measures of chilled water to it. say for example if you have taken 1 bowl of yogurt, take 1 bowl full of chilled water and mix them both. Pour that in a blender jar and start pulsing. You will need to pulse for about 5-7 minutes, till the butter and water get separated. Yes, the magic does happen after a biting point and you get to see the thin layer separating the two. Just be patient and use chilled water and yogurt.
- Scoop the butter out of the Jar and strain the remaining liquid. THAT is your Buttermilk !! So, you see here !! you get butter and buttermilk, both of the yoghurt. The catch here is that it has to be full cream yogurt, only then you will get the desired result in the time indicated above. Else you will keep on pulsing for long time but won’t get anything but the diluted yogurt at the end.
** If you don’t want to go through all the pain of blending, scooping etc. Simply use low fat yogurt and dilute it with ½ the measure of water to prepare the Buttermilk instantly.
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes
Cooking Time: 2-3 minutes
Serves: 2-3 people
Cuisine:– Indian, all regions
Spice Level: Mild
Recipe Level: Easy
Shelf Life: Up to 1 hour at room temperature, up to 24 hours in the Fridge (without salt)
Serving Suggestion: With Spicy rice dishes like Biryani, Pilaf etc. or just plain on a hot day
Nutritional Facts:- Cooling, Rich in protein, Calcium, Vitamins and Pro-biotics.
How to make Masala Chaach / Matha / Chhaas
Now that we have prepared the buttermilk, we just need to add some spices and bit to it to make the spiced version of the same. Spiced Buttermilk makes a no fuss and cooling drink and is essential to combat the super-hot weather that we have in India or elsewhere.
What you need?
- 2 glasses of buttermilk, chilled
- 3-4 ice cubes
- 1 small green chili, minced in a course paste – the medium variety which is not too hot
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- A pinch of black salt
- 4-5 curry leaves , crushed or chopped finely
- 1-2 mint leaves, crushed or chopped finely
- 1 tsp full of Salt, or to taste
- A few coriander leaves to garnish and serve
- A pinch of Roasted cumin powder
- Simple blend everything together except Ice cubes and coriander leaves. Add ice cubes and blend until they are crushed coarsely. Pour into glasses and serve with chopped coriander leaves on top
- As simple as this is, it can be planned ahead of time with all the spices mixed but the salt. Juts mix in salt before serving, give a quick churn and serve immediately. If you add salt and then keep in Fridge, the yogurt will turn sour and wont taste good.
- Buttermilk tastes best when fresh so try and gulp it down as soon as you make it.
- You may add your choice of herbs to it like Parsley, Thyme etc. if you want to experiment with the taste
- In some regions, like Punjab, they add a few drops of Boondi ( fried small gram flour balls) in the Matha ( that’s what it’s called in / near the state of Punjab) which makes it even more delicious but a bit on the heavy side. Try it if you haven’t , for a different taste
- Adding black salt is optional, but it really gives a delicate and unique flavour to the dink. In fact I use it for all my yogurt based dishes like Raita etc. and it never fails to amaze me.
- Different regions have different recipe for this drink, but that’s how I make it and love it this way.
You may like to check out some other Summer Drinks HERE
Some cooling Raita recipes below:
Spinach Yoghurt Raita :: Paalak ka Raita
Beetroot Yoghurt Raita :: Chukandar ka raita
Pineapple Raita :: with pomegranate ( Anaar )
Okra Yogurt Dip :: Bhindi Ka Raita