As far as I know, majority of the Indians enjoy their share of dairy products. It may be milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cream, butter/ghee or paneer (Indian cheese). What ever it is, every body loves one or the other form. Growing up, I don't recall any magazine or television telling us how important milk is or having a particular number of servings would make you thinner. We also didn't have mesmerising ads for smoothies or fruit on the bottom kind of yogurts. Still we did have our daily share of dairy. With out the knowledge of food pyramids, calories and other nutritional data, majority of Indian moms always try to imbibe the kids with this fact that how milk can make them 'taakatwar' or stronger. One which makes you stronger must be good, that's all we knew when we were little. Science classes later taught that milk is a good source of calcium which is important for bones. I enjoyed and still do when it comes to dairy products. Yogurt, being my favorite.
Naturally fermented yogurt / dahi/ perugu has been part of the Indian food from the earliest times. It is a norm in South Indian families to finish their meal with yogurt (and cooked rice) since it aids digestion and has a cooling effect after a spicy meal. In India, apart from the culinary usage, yogurt is eaten as it is, made into delicious lassis, khadis, raitas and more.
We don't throw away even our sour yogurt, :) Either it goes into majjiga pulusu (Andhra Kadhi) or perugu pachchadi (Can be called raita but made with sour yogurt). A roasted / cooked vegetable is added to the spiced up sour yogurt. The popular choices of veggies added are eggplant, snake gourd and bottle gourd. This is some what similar to my earlier post 'Vankaya Perugu Pachchadi' (Baingan raitha). In Andhra homes, usually it is eaten with rice and muddha pappu (toor dal cooked to a thicker consistency and salt added). Rice and dal are mixed well with a generous amount of ghee and then each 'muddha' (morsel) is dipped in this pachchadi and eaten. (Mu in muddha pronounced as in 'Municipal' and 'ddha' as in 'that' with a stress). It can be also eaten with rotis.
Ingredients :Snake gourd chopped into circles - 1/2 cupYogurt (preferably sour) - 1 cupSmall piece of ginger
2 or 3 Green chillies
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
A little asafoetida
A few curry leaves
Cilantro to garnish
Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add snake gourd and turmeric powder. Cover and cook on low flame till the snake gourds are done.
Mean while, grind the green chillies and ginger into a paste. If it is difficult to grind add a little yogurt to facilitate grinding.
Whisk or beat the yogurt with a spoon for a few seconds to reach a smooth, uniform consistency. Add salt, ginger - chillie paste, snake gourd mixture to the yogurt and mix well.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice & dal combo or rotis.
This goes to Nupur's A-Z vegetable series for the 'Y' entry.
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