Yogurts of the world
Ethnic yogurts are smooth, tangy, and sometimes thick enough to cut with a knife.
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Some South Asian immigrants prefer to make yogurt at home. Indira Singari, a Seattle food blogger, boils milk, cools it, and adds a spoonful of culture to make her own. "But honestly, I am not able to re-create the Indian curd taste with American milk," says Ms. Singari. Part of the reason, she adds, is the fact that the cattle in India are raised on a different diet. However, a commercial brand, Desi Natural Dahi – made by a dairy farm on the East Coast – is available in Indian grocery stores.Skip to next paragraph
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Northern Europe has many fermented milk products, but technically they are not yogurts. "They involve very different microbes," says Dr. Fankhauser. The case is the same with kefir, a fermented drink, ubiquitous in many countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. Iceland, however, has a low-fat strained yogurt, skyr, that is now marketed by Whole Foods.
Greek yogurt or giaurti is a good example of a crossover yogurt. "There are few things which taste so good that are actually good for you," says Ann Graham Nichols, a food blogger from East Lansing, Mich., who is enraptured by the taste of this chunky yogurt.
As more people look to avoid sugary foods, ethnic yogurts could step up to the plate. Some do take getting used to because they are not overly sweetened as their American counterparts are. "But American palates are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of just plain old yogurt," says Dr. Christie.
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup mango fruit pulp (optional)
3 cups low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup crushed ice
Sweetener (honey, sugar, or any sugar substitute)
In a small cup, add boiling water to cover the saffron threads and set aside for 20 minutes until the saffron is ready to yield its rich gold color to the lassi.
Canned mango pulp is available in South Asian grocery stores and is already sweetened. Chunks of frozen mango will work well, too, though the fruit flavor may not be as intense. Fresh skinned, very ripe mangoes can be also used. Purée them first to get half a cup of pulp in the blender.
Add all the ingredients to a blender along with half a cup of crushed ice. Blend well till the liquid mixture becomes light and frothy. Add some water if necessary. This drink is easier to pour than an average smoothie.
Sweeten to taste. It can be refrigerated for up to four hours. If you leave it much longer, the drink will look curdled, although the taste will not be altered significantly. Serve chilled. Makes 3 servings.
Fried Eggplant in Yogurt
2 medium-size eggplants
Oil, enough for frying
3 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise
1-1/2 cups plain yogurt
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Cut the eggplants into thin round slices, less than an inch thick. You can slice the rounds in half depending on the size of the eggplant.
Pan-fry the eggplant slices in oil on each side until browned, adding some salt. Remove the crisp slices and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Allow to cool.
Lightly fry the garlic pieces in the same pan. Remove any extra oil.
Season the yogurt with salt and cayenne pepper, and add the sliced, fried garlic.
In a flat glass dish, add one-third of the seasoned yogurt and then layer with half of the eggplant slices. Add the next layer of yogurt and arrange the other layer of eggplants. Top off with a final layer of yogurt and garnish with cilantro leaves. Cover and chill for one hour. Serves 4 as a cold side dish.