Saturday, April 2, 2016

I could Use a Little Culture-Yogurt Culture That Is

My girls, son, and I love Indian food.There are not many places to get take out and none in our smallish community. When we have gone out, it is a fairly whopping price tag. Having read many food blogs and UK blogs, I know lot's of people around the world, not from India or of Indian descent, are making their own versions, from scratch, for pennies on the dollar. DH is not a fan, so I do not make it as often as I might like to. On the Sam's Kitchen page, I included a couple links to two of my favorite UK bloggers that routinely make their own versions, and shared my twist that essentially pulls parts that I like from both, liberally helped with what veggies I happen to have in the house. Is my dish a curry?  Is it a masala? I'm not really sure what it would be called, but it is yummy, and turns out a bit different, yet familiar, each time. 

One ingredient I use in it is plain yogurt. However, the only containers I find are large ones, enough for three or four recipes, and I just won't cook the dish enough before the stuff would go bad. I was first exposed to plain yogurt when I was an exchange student in France when I was 18. My only previous exposure to yogurt of any kinds had been Yoplait brand, highly sugared, almost desert like, cups. In France, no amount of fruit added to the yogurt made it palatable to my taste. It still isn't in it's plan variety, but I have found using it as an ingredient in place of milk or sour cream does wonders for simple foods. 

The cheesy potatoes I brought for Easter were nothing more than hash brown potatoes, cream of celery soup, cheddar cheese, milk, and plain yogurt to give them some tang.  I made two 9" by 13" pans.

The remaining two healthy scoops of yogurt were used back to back days in a mix and bake mixed berry muffin packet. I had picked up a couple packets of Betty Crocker when they were on sale for 2 for $1.00. These are the mixes that all you need to do is add milk or water, and bake. Instead of 1/2 cup of either liquid, I used the yogurt and a bit of water just to make stirable. The result was a much heartier and cheesecake like muffin. DD#2 ate four of the 6 muffins. 

I've found substituting yogurt for milk in recipes adds a richness to the recipe and keeps the dish from being watered down. It is virtually a perfect substitute for sour cream in dips, baking, and hot dishes. It is generally lower in fat than regular sour cream, full of protein and calcium. Still, it is not an ingredient I regularly buy except for when making my Indian inspired dishes because of the large size container. I really am not sure how long it would last once open as I intentionally will try an use it up within the week. 

Whenever I buy it, I toy for a few seconds with the thought of making my own yogurt, introducing those probiotic cultures to the milk. I picture the cheesecloth, and the retro jars lined up in my refrigerator, helping me to look oh so granola. Then reality sets in, and I realize I can buy a really good size container of Old Home for $2.99, and I don't risk sending anyone to the hospital with a case of botulism. No, I won't be making my own, but I will liberally utilize the containers I buy in other homemade dishes. 

9 comments:

  1. I have to confess I bought a yogurtmaker years ago and have never used it. 8-(
    I know making my own is healthier adn cheaper and w/this machine, safe for human consumption. But the problem now is that A-Hubs is not a fan of it(you should see his face every time I make onion dip and sub 1/2 of the sour cream with yogurt! lol)and B-I can't eat that much yogurt by myself and no one else living here to help me eat it all.
    sigh.
    I suppose I could cook Indian food to use some(and Hubs would gladly eat that! but I don't care for Indian food much).

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    1. You could send him my way on curry night!. I don't need any more gadgets, and with the price of milk, I wonder if it would be cheaper-that is with my shopping skills. I'm sure you will have sussed out a way to make money buying the milk for the yogurt.

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    2. Nope on cheap milk here even with "skillz". PA has a strong dairy lobby and milk prices are set by the gubermint.

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    3. I will blissfully continue to buy mine then, and leave the home made yogurt to the ones who know what they are doing.

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  2. I love making my own yoghurt! I make a very thick one and then strain some of it and make a delicious soft cheese. I also kep a little back as a culture for the next batch. Yum. (I think I probably prefer my food a little less sweet than you, though.)

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    1. I have a couple friends that make yogurt. My comment was to me, and me alone. I had a disastrous friendship bread experience where the starter went bad and I made my family sick.

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    2. Whoops! Yes, I can see that would make you wary!

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  3. We do get lots of choice over here re natural yoghurt my fav is an organic brand from Yeo which comes in small individual pots too. However I must confess I take no notice of the date if it smells then I use it weeks after the sell by date. It's yoghurt and full of bacteria anyway lol

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    1. I know I shouldn't be so squeamish about dates, but they help me be sure to plan better by having a go to list of things I can use leftover amounts. I have never seen single serve cups/pots of plain yogurt, as we Americans do tend to like our yogurt sweet. Greek yogurt is all the rage but I can't really enjoy even the fruity varieties very much.

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