How To Make Your Own Homemade Indian-Inspired Yogurt (or, Dahi)

By Isadora Baum

Yogurt is one of the best foods you can eat for a healthy snack or breakfast, and as it has the same texture as many "comfort" foods, such as cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise, it works as a fantastic substitute to lighten up your meals.

Yogurt
credit: Twenty20

It's rich in protein and calcium to fill you up and strengthen your bones and muscles, and it's also a great source of probiotics, meaning it boosts digestion and keeps you regular. Beyond it's long list of nutrients, it's also super versatile, so you can use it in sandwiches, smoothies, baked goods, soups, tacos, lasagna, and more.

However, all those benefits can go to waste if your yogurt is loaded with sugar and unhealthy ingredients, which many brands contain. A solution? Make your own at home. Not only will you save money, but you'll also make a recipe that's pure and tasty. Here's how to make your own yogurt at home, thanks to Chef Hari Nayak of Café Spice.

"In India it is very common to make yogurt known as 'Dahi' at home. I grew up eating homemade yogurt. It is very simple to make and it is delicious," Nayak says. "You will need a starter which acts as a culture to make the first batch. A good starter yields good yogurt. You can use store-bought yogurt as a starter or make a homemade version," Nayak says.

Always remember to save a tablespoon of the starter for the next batch, as well. It is always a trial and error process, and you might need the first two or so times to understand the right time and temperature in your kitchen.

"Once you get that formula, the process becomes easy. I love using this homemade yogurt to whip up lassi drinks, raita dipping sauces, baked yogurt desserts, or I can simply eat it sweetened with honey for breakfast," Nayak explains.

Yogurt Starter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Method

1. Bring milk to boil then cool until it is lukewarm
2. Add lemon juice to milk
3. Cover milk and allow to set in warm place (100-110° F) for six to eight hours

Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp yogurt starter (can sub in store bought yogurt)

Method

  1. Heat whole milk in sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then simmer on low to reduce the quantity to four cups.
  2. Remove from heat and cool milk until lukewarm temperature of around 115F.
  3. Add one tablespoon of thick whole milk yogurt starter to the milk and mix well with whisk (make sure the yogurt is not cold or straight from the fridge).
  4. Transfer mixture to a clean pot (preferably a earthenware pot for better results).
  5. Allow to sit in a warm place, around 100-110° F, for six to eight hours.