Come summer and the restaurant sales of buttermilk skyrocket. At homes too, people stock up jars of buttermilk, a refreshing drink post meals, after play or exercise. Ayurveda gives great importance to buttermilk in the daily diet. It is considered a 'param-amrutam' or elixir to keep the 'jara' (old age) and 'vyadhi' (diseases) away.
Buttermilk is a dairy product; it is the leftover liquid when butter is churned from fermented milk. By the time the milk gets fermented, the good bacteria for gut health have already pitched their tents in there, making buttermilk excellent for gut health. Its indisputable cooling effect on the body makes it a 'hot' favourite during peak summer months.
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There are various ways of consuming buttermilk. While it tastes great with just a pinch of salt, a little prep will increase the coolness quotient of the drink and can even be served to guests during summer. Ayurveda prescribes adding other digestives and cooling agents like ginger, cumin and asafoetida to complement the drink.
While chaachh or chas is well known, South Indians have their own way of adding zing to this drink. Called Neer Mor in Tamil, Majjiga in Telugu, Majjige in Kannada and Sambharam in Malayalam, this is a much sought after buttermilk concoction in the hot and sultry summer in all South Indian households.
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To prepare Neer Mor, you can make a paste of ginger and green chillies (the number varies according to your threshold for spice) and infuse the buttermilk with the paste and a couple of slit curry leaves and drink it after a while.
If this preparaton is too grainy or spicy for your taste, you can slice a piece of ginger into a thin strip, slit the green chillies and curry leaves and leave them with some coriander leaves in the buttermilk to infuse for a while. Sieve the drink to remove the solids before drinking.
A more elaborate but super delicious way to prepare buttermilk the south Indian way is to add a fine paste of one teaspoon of coconut, a pinch of cumin seeds and turmeric and a small piece of onion to chilled buttermilk and then tempering the drink with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, dried red chilies and curry leaves. This can even be had as a curry during meals.
Neer mor is also prepared by adding a tempering of mustards, dry red chillies, a pinch of asafoetida and fenugreek seeds and curry leaves, prepared in a teaspoon of hot oil, and dunked into a cold jar of buttermilk.
Try one or all of these ways and we bet, you will not look at buttermilk the same way again.
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