A dietary staple in many parts of the world, Curds or Yogurt is an amusing and accidental discovery for mankind. Curd has been around with us for ages and is used profusely in cooking and for its medicinal properties.
Components: The basic and the most natural form of curd is made with milk, which is curdled using culture (Jaman), and other acidic substances such as lemon and vinegar. Soybean curd which is made by curdling the soy milk is another healthy option.
Sugar and Lactose present in the milk get converted into lactic acid during the process of curdling giving rise to a thick and solid form which is called as curd or Yogurt.
Tips to set perfect curd:
Quality of curd largely depends on the existing culture used to curdle the milk. Use fresh culture (Jaman) to set the curd.
Boil required quantity of milk and cool it to room temperature. Add just a teaspoon of existing curd and keep aside at a warmer place to set the curds.
Curd set using Buffalo milk is thicker than the curd which is set with Cow’s milk.
Use a teaspoon of Soy powder for a thick and creamy curds.
It takes 5-6 hours in hot weather and 14-15 hours in cold weather to get a perfectly set curd. To increase the process of curdling in winter, place the milk with the culture in a microwave without switching it on.
Hot case helps to set the curd faster during winter.
Health Benefits of Curds:
The most important and the healthy live bacteria present in the curd makes it very special and a nutritious food option for all ages.
Curd is rich in calcium, protein, riboflavin and vitamins.
It is low in fat and high in potassium, provided the milk used to make the curd is skimmed and low fat.
Curd is used to prevent diarrhea.
Curd is suppose to increase longevity and immunity.
It lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol in the blood.
Helps against arthritis and stomach ulcers and many other stomach ailments.
Calcium present in the curd helps strengthen the bones.
Curd is very helpful during the treatment of certain ailments, as it replenishes the beneficial bacteria lost during heavy medication.
Last but not the least it is a boon for lactose intolerant who are allergic to milk and milk products. As the protein in curd is easily digestible than that in milk.
Prudent way to Include Curds in Diet;
Use skimmed milk or low fat milk to set the curd.
Buttermilk is much healthier option than curds which is 1:3 parts of curds to water.
Lassi – sweetened and thick buttermilk is a refreshing summer drink.
Srikhand and Indian delicacy is a great dessert.
Add nuts, fresh fruits and granolas to a bowl of curd for a healthy breakfast.
Make oatmeal porridge with curds and roasted cumin powder.
Sprinkle herbs such as coriander leaves, mint and dill for a tasty accompaniment to any meal.
Dips made with hung curd is good with sliced fruits and steamed veggies.
Raita is a great recipe which goes well with any meals of the day. Mix sliced cucumber, pineapple and apples for a refreshing raitas.
Add a teaspoon of sugar while setting the curds for a quick and refreshing dessert.
It is three cheers for curds, with all the health benefits accrued to it and for being one of the most versatile cooking ingredients available to us.
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