I think it was sometime in 2016 that I decided to make Yogurt or Dahi at home. It wasn’t that great at first and would often come out slimy or stringy. I know, many of you would ask, why bother making yogurt at home when you can buy it at the grocery? But you would not know the feeling of always having a big batch of creamy homemade yogurt in the fridge, until you have tried it. If Sourdough and Kombucha projects sound too tedious, start with a basic batch of Homemade Dahi. Seriously, I could not recommend it more now that we are all spending more time at home during the pandemic.
If you have read this far into the post, I understand that homemade yogurt is something you are keen to try making at home. And let me assure you it is one of the easiest kitchen projects during home quarantine. 2020 sure has changed our relationship with food as we are more conscious about what we are eating and cooking. I think of all the trash we generate with plastic cups, bags, cutlery from takeouts and so much more. Making yogurt at home helps reduce that one or three plastic cups during the week, depending on how often you eat yogurt.
So what it the secret to making better Dahi?
Remember when I said that the first few attempts at making homemade yogurt were not all that great? Well, you will be glad to know that it got better. Why? Because I kept going. I did not let the first few batches of slimy yogurt stop me from making the next batch. I kept these early subsequent batches smaller, with around 200ml of milk so that there was no waste. They were used in my morning granola, on the side with my parathas or blended into smoothies. These also were great in my overnight oats. It was summer then.
And then, guess what? I kept going and the batches of Dahi got better. Have we learnt nothing from all the research we have done on starting our very own sourdough starters during the lockdown? Don’t they say, that you will start seeing activity in your starter only after a few days of feeds? Well, it works similarly for yogurt. The only secret is that you have to keep going! Don’t stop with just one attempt at making yogurt. Save a spoonful to start the next batch, and so on and so forth. That’s it. That’s the key to making good creamy Dahi at home.
Don’t stop with just one attempt at making yogurt. Save a spoonful to start the next batch, and so on and so forth. That’s it. That’s the key to making good creamy dahi at home.
So don’t give up!
Why NOW is the perfect time!
As I finish writing this article, Christmas is just a few days away. A lot of you will be off from work for the holidays and would most likely be staying at home. I am hoping you all will be responsible and will stay at home since the pandemic is not over. Making yogurt now is the perfect project! My mother always says that make a batch of yogurt when you know you will be home to pick it up in time. And now that we know we will be home, or working from home, it is the perfect time to make yogurt. Just set a reminder on your phone to pick it up in time.
Since it is cooler now, you may not want to use Dahi in smoothies or lassis. Don’t worry, I have some great ideas for you to use up the first few batches of not-so-perfect Dahi.
Come winters and we find stuffed parathas more often on our plates – there is Gobhi paratha, Mooli paratha, the much loved Aloo paratha and of course Palak or Methi paratha! Yes, there are so many other kinds you could make. Homemade Dahi is the perfect thing next to those steaming hot parathas.
Okay, so you think your homemade Dahi isn’t it’s creamiest best yet to be sitting next to your parathas? No worries, use it to marinate chicken or mutton for Biryani or curries. Use it in sooji or Besan Cheela batter, in Oats Idli or better still to make dough for Bhatooras to go with your spicy Punjabi Chhole.
Or if you are done with rich and spicy foods and want something light, use dahi to make cooling Dahi Chawal.
What I am saying is, your first few no-so-perfect batches of yogurt have myriad of uses, whatever the season. And once you start making your own, you will discover so many uses for it.
Make Dahi whichever way
I do not use an Instant Pot and make Dahi without any special equipment, the traditional way. You can of course use your instant pot to make yogurt at home since it provides a more stable environment. But whatever method you use, it is possible to make great creamy batches of yogurt at home.
To summarise, your homemade Dahi or yogurt would be great as long as you:
- Keep going
- Understand and follow a few basics about making Yogurt/Dahi