When it comes to milk, there are two kinds of people. The first kind like drinking milk. Let’s call them milk babies? Often as kids, they were not the ones that parents were endlessly coaxing to finish their glass of milk before rushing off to school or even college (applicable if you are a Punjabi kid). The other kind, you guessed it, find milk repulsive and have often come up with ingenious or even cruel ways to make that glass of milk disappear surreptitiously.
Now is there a third kind? Or does one’s affection or dislike of milk change as they age? Which one are you, dear reader/listener?
Dairy in Punjab and northern India
In our latest and final episode from this season of the Kitchenpostcards Podcast, we bring you all things milk. In India, especially in most north Indian households, the day begins with milk. A walk to the nearest dairy cooperative or home delivered packet or a visit by the milkman or gwaala scurries almost every Indian kitchen into the same activity, boiling the milk.
In our chat in this episode we trace back the milk products we have grown up drinking or better still, eating. Starting with boiled milk, its use in our much loved karak chai, making homemade dahi, the collection of malai, making it into butter and later the much coveted homemade Ghee; boiling milk eventually results in all sorts of products. We think Indians, even in the most modern kitchens, utilise milk to the tea, we mean T!
But these are just a few milk based foods, to be privy to what further adventures you could go on with humble doodh, listen to our episode. For now, here’s a flowchart that Sakshi made about the journey of milk in most north Indian households. Did she miss anything? Tell us in the comments below.
Doodh Ubalne Wala hai!
Kheer ghin wanjo!
Utensils and Kitchen Paraphernalia
- Pateela – stock pot like vessel.
- Dolu – large canister of milk carried by a milkman, usually hung on either side of his motorcycle. A smaller version with a metal wire handle is also found in most homes.
- Litre – milk measure
- Milk Packets
- Glass milk coasters; technically called “Milk Watcher” or “Pot Watchers/Minders”
Hindi/ Punjabi/ Multani words
- Doodh – milk
- Gamla – planter
- Gwaala – Hindi for milkman also used for cow herder. Lord Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, was also called a chief herder and was famously fond of milk and butter.
- Bhains ka Doodh – bhains refers to buffalo in Hindi and doodh to milk. So, buffalo milk.
- Malai – cream.
- Makhhan – butter.
- Khoya/Mawa – dried or thickened milk.
- Lassi – buttermilk or yogurt based drink.
- Lala – usually refers to a businessman with a large belly.
- Kheer Ghin wanjo – a phrase in the Multani that means, “Come take milk!”, used by milkmen of the region.
- Khurchan – scrapping of cooked down food/milk from the side or bottom of a pot.
- Chhuara – dried date.
- Kalaari cheese – a cheese from Kashmir.
And, as this list ends on a cheese here are two article about cheese in India. If you though we only ever made Paneer, well then you are wrong! Read on to find out about the Indian subcontinent’s cheese culture.
- CN Traveller: 8 Cheeses You Didn’t Know Exist in India
- Scroll India: Paneer has sadly eclipsed other native Indian cheeses like Kalari, Chhurpi and Churu
Kitna achha bachha aaya hai ghar
Flavored & Malted Milk
As children many of us, we include ourselves here, drank milk only when it was flavored. Some common malt mixes, still popular amongst Indians are: Horlicks, Bournvita and Complain. Have you ever tasted milk with either of these? There is a lot of food history in this one product, i.e. malt, and a marketing lesson too. Read more here.
Memories/ Popular Culture
Ask any child of the 90s about popular jingles from their childhood and they will likely parrot out one of these milk jingles “Doodh, doodh, doodh, doodh…wonderful doodh!” or “Saer toh bas bahana hai! Papa ko kulfi jo khana hai!” along with identifying the Amul girl or the Complan commercials with child actors who went on to become Bollywood stars in their own right. CN Traveller summarizes the rise of these milk popularization campaigns in India. As India became milk sufficient the jingles multiplied and our limited TV viewing options ensured we knew them by heart. But why was our country so obsessed with these in the 90s? Maybe you will get the answer in the episode.
Milk Cooperatives in India
The National Dairy Development Board, India (NDDB) or simply the Dairy Board was created to promote and support the creation of milk cooperatives across the country with the aim to build self sufficiency in dairy production. Operation Flood, supported by the World Bank and spearheaded by NDDB succeeded in making India the largest milk producer in the world. Amul, India’s best known milk cooperative based in Anand, Gujarat and Mother Dairy in Delhi-NCR are subsidiaries of the NDDB while other state run cooperatives consult with NDDB. Some milk cooperative we’ve had experience with are:
- Saras in Rajasthan
- Vijaya in Hyderabad
- Saanchi in Madhya Pradesh
- Mother Dairy in Delhi-NCR and some more major cities
- Amul in Gujarat with a national presence.
- Verka in Punjab
Though not a public cooperative, Heritage in Telangana is one of the largest privately run and publicly listed dairy businesses in India. Another one is Paras, again a privately owned dairy whose products can be found in most of North India. Paras is part of the largest privately owned dairy in the country.
Types of milk:
There are primarily two kinds that households can request from their milkmen: cow’s milk or buffalo’s. Usually, no such differentiation exists if you are a dairy cooperative consumer. The two kinds differ in their fat and protein content which is instantly noticeable. Read more about them here. Recently, some dairy cooperatives do sell milk from only cows but we are yet to see a cooperative selling only buffalo milk.
Koi bachha maangta thaa doodh aise?
Blog Recipes using Dairy:
Talking about dairy in Punjab and Punjabi households, we decided to list recipes that use milk in its varied forms. Believe us, we didn’t have any inkling that the list would be this long! You’ll find recipes, from savory to sweet, that utilize readily available milk products and some to make your own, like paneer and dahi (yogurt).
- Beaten Coffee,
- Hot Chocolate,
- Gajar ka Halwa,
- Tea Flavorings,
- Homemade Dahi,
- Yogurt in an Instant Pot,
- Besan ka Sheera,
- Dal Makhni,
- Haakh ka Saag,
- Gosht do Piaza,
- Chicken Ghee Roast,
- Homemade Pizza,
- Best Two Egg Cake,
- Rum Soaked Carrot Cake,
- Rum and Date Cake,
- Makhane ki Kheer,
- Rose Kheer and Gulkand,
- Quinoa Kheer,
- Pearl Couscous Kheer,
- Homemade Paneer,
- Banana Peanut Butter Oats Mug Cake,
- Chocolate Mug Cake with Oats and Coconut Oil,
- Overnight Oats,
- Malai Halwa,
- Dalia Porridge and Ghee Toast,
- Mishti Doi,
- Lagan Nu Custard,
- Kadhai Paneer,
- Mom’s Trifle in a Jiffy,
- Paneer Bhurji,
- Besan Ladoo and there is much more!
Koi maangta toh nahi tha, but jab milta tha toh peena toh padhta tha (doodh)!
Parents and their ingenious ways of making us eat milk products
In our conversation during this episode some ingenious, some might even call weird, ways of making us kids eat milk products, came up. We reminisce about Malai Cheeni or Cream Sugar Sandwich and also a Malai Jam sandwich. There was of course Ghar ki Malai or Homemade Cream on Parathas, a crunchy and moreish Dahi & Bhujia sandwich. The fact that Cookbook author Priya Krishna has a Dahi Toast recipe in her book, also featured in this Bon appetit video, makes us think that our parents were really onto something! Something yum, for sure!
Summer Essential – Milk Shakes!
We don’t know about you but come summer and our household consumption of milk goes up. Blenders can be heard buzzing in the morning with us making milkshakes like Mango shake, Banana Shake, Cold coffee, Roohafza milk and also meethi lassi. A glassful of milkshake was a must side to our breakfast or brunch. And these heavy sweet shakes kept us cool and full for longer. What were some of your favourites?
We’d love to hear from you!
This podcast conversation covers a lot of ground and perhaps will stir some nostalgia and longing for home in you too. We’d love to hear how you associate food and home. Is food a source of comfort and belonging for you too? Please write to us in the comments here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a lot more that we could have and want to talk about. We’ve only just begun! Be sure to tune in for the rest of the season.
We’ll be back soon!
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