Dahi’s Trilogy, Chapter 1: Dahi
By Luisa Gardin
How have I used it ’till today?
Yogurt and corn flakes or muesli.
Yogurt and honey.
Yogurt and fresh fruit.
Sometimes tzatziki sauce. The Greek sauce, with cucumber and garlic.
During summer I have no problem eating yogurt. Yogurt is great when the weather is hot.
But during winter, the cold winter of Northern Italy, I don’t like having breakfast with yogurt just withdrawn from the fridge!
Other problem. I eat cheese but don’t drink milk. At all. Since I was a child.
Many times I thought that I will have osteoporosis. For sure.
And I could see, in front of my eyes, an elderly Luisa with hip fracture due to osteoporosis and lack of calcium.
But when I arrived here in Ashram, I discovered that it is possible eating yogurt during every meal and not only for breakfast. And moreover, here it is an important part of the meal and not just an appetizer or a salad dressing, as tzatziki sauce.
Probably it is so good because it is produced with the milk of the cows and buffalo of the farm close to the ashram…
(Have you ever seen a buffalo? It’s so huge…and the milk is so good!)
In this way I met Curd. Dahi in Hindi.
This is the kind of yogurt used in India. It is different from the traditional yogurt or the Greek one, mostly known in Italy. The texture is different: you can clearly notice the thick and solid part separated from the liquid part. This difference is due to a different kind of bacteria that creates the transformation in the milk. And of course the taste is different!!
And I ate Dahi in so many dishes! Buttermilk, raita, with Dal, with too-spicy-for-me vegetables, with fruits…
I decided that it was time to produce it from the beginning, from the milk. I wanted to know it would be possible for me producing it in my Turin’s Kitchen.
One morning Pukhraj, Jugadeesh and I discussed (in a mixed language made up of English, Hindi and some Italian words…!) which was the best way to create the fermentation in the milk.
We did in this way:
A small bowl of milk (the best milk that you can have in your house!)
1 small lemon (Indian lemon is as big as a lime)
- Squeeze the lemon juice in to the milk.
- Cover it and keep the bowl at room temperature for one day.
- This is the starter for Dahi. Don’t eat it! It’s quite bitter!
- The next day add half catori (the little silver bowl) of this starter in 8 glasses of milk.
- The Dahi will be ready when the taste is sour.
Remember that milk can take some days to change in Dahi, according with the weather. If it is hot, the transformation will be faster than in winter.
When we did our experiment, the weather was changing. During the day it was already quite hot, but during night and morning it was quite cold. So the transformation was not so fast.
At the first tasting, my “fast and western” mind immediately thought that we wasted milk with this experiment. It was so bitter….
But Jugadeesh and Pukhraj, with their much more patient and relaxed minds, told me: “It’s changing, it’s changing!!” And actually the milk was changing…
Now our experiment is perfectly working and producing Dahi.
So… Try and be patient.
Wait for the Dahi and wait for us to post recipes with it.
Your bones will thank you, for sure!
At Shri Jasnath Ashram, guests will sample a variety of dishes using Dahi as a base. Our Dahi is made with milk from the cows living beside the Ashram and grazing in our cow yard. Stay tuned to our “Dal Days” Blog as we post more Dahi recipes as part of Dahi’s Trilogy! Shri Jasnath Asan is offering Yoga Lifestyle Workshops throughout the year where you can experience the magic of life in Rajasthan and learn to make healthy vegetarian meals from the local traditional cuisine. Yoga Lifestyle Workshop
Luisa Gardin graduated from Shri Jasnath Asan’s Rajasthan Hatha Yoga Institute 200 Hour Course in October 2015 as a certified yoga teacher. In her hometown of Turin, Italy she is an occupational therapist and a self-proclaimed garden-foodie “seeking ways of bringing the ashram cooking to her friends and family”.