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.