Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Recipe : Masala Chaas / Chaach / Spiced Buttermilk / Ayran / Majjige

Masala Chaas / Chaach is a staple drink during the summers in Northern India where the heat can give you sunstroke. Its similar to the Turkish Ayran with more spicing. While this watered down yoghurt is called Buttermilk in the North, South Indians will disagree. In South India, Buttermilk / Majjige is the liquid you get when churning butter from cream. That too is served similarly spiced, but its obviously much thinner than the North Indian versions.

There are various methods to make this drink and spicing it depends on what you and your family like. The most common herbs and spices that go into this drink in Northern & Western India are black salt (buy from an Indian store), ginger, green chillies, coriander leaves and cumin powder or chaat masala powder.

My nana used to heat a little oil, temper it with 1-2 curry leaves, dried red chilli and mustard seeds. and add this to the buttermilk.

Black salt has a strange smell when it mixes with any liquid, but this bears no ill effects on its taste. If you don't like the smell/taste of black salt or it isn't available, you can easily use just regular table salt.

1/2 glass of chilled plain yoghurt/curd
1/2 - 1 green chilli finely chopped (to taste)
a pinch of grated ginger
1/2 tsp finely chopped corriander leaves
1/4 - 1/2 tsp of roasted cumin powdered (jeera powder)
 black salt (kaala namak)or salt to taste
 chilled water to dilute

Gently beat/stir the yoghurt / curd with a spoon, so no lumps remain.
Add all the other ingredients except the water and stir well.
If you want, you can just refrigerate it at this point and mix water when you are ready to drink. This allows all the flavours to seep into the yoghurt. (Do not keep it for more than an hour or so, it will lose its fresh flavour)
When ready to consume (or immediately) top with water and mix slowly.

I prefer half yoghurt to half water. Some people prefer it thicker, my mum prefers 1/4 yoghurt to 3/4 water. So play around and find the balance that is right for you and your family.

This drink really rehydrates you on a hot summer day and is ideal if you want to avoid sugary drinks like lemonades and iced teas.

Kim's tip:
If you have a fussy child / eater, who doesn't like the bits and bobs in the drink, let the flavours seep into the drink for at least 30 minutes. Then mix in the water and strain out the cutings before serving.

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