Curd is one of the most healthy, wholesome, delicious foods that is an integral part of every Indian home. A meal is considered incomplete without rounding it off with curd rice in South India, and chaas or buttermilk up North.
Setting perfect curd is actually an art, and using an earthen pot for curd setting is an ancient practice that was accidentally discovered during the Neolithic Period when milk that was stored in a clay pot naturally turned thick and sour due to the warm temperature.
While steel or glass bowls are popularly used to set curd, using a clay pot for setting curd is a wise decision not only because the curd tastes even more delicious but also because there are proven scientific facts that highlight the multiple benefits of ‘matka dahi’ or making curd in a clay pot.
What are the benefits of setting curd in clay pots?
- The porous nature of clay allows for thicker & creamier curd
Clay, the material used to make clay pots, is porous in nature enabling easy absorption of water. Therefore, when curd is kept to set in a clay pot, excess water is gradually absorbed resulting in deliciously thick and creamy curd.
2. Provides natural insulation against temperature fluctuation
Having the right temperature is crucial for getting rich and tasty curd. Even a slight variation in temperature can cause the curd to become sour or watery. However, a clay pot helps to retain heat, acting as an insulation shield, creating a conducive temperature for the curd to set perfectly without turning sour.
3. Rich in essential minerals
Clay pots made of pure clay are rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and a host of other micronutrients. This makes the curd set in it highly nutritious and easy to digest.
4.It creates a deliciously earthy flavor
Using a clay pot for curd lends it a distinct, earthy flavor, which does not overpower the natural curd taste but adds a pleasant tinge of flavor giving the taste buds a delectable experience.
5.It’s alkalinity balances the acidic content in curd
Clay being alkaline in nature balances the acidic content in curd to a great extent, thereby cutting down the sourness and adding a dash of sweetness to the ‘matka curd’.
5 Steps to set curd in an earthenware pot:
Step 1: Use an unglazed clay pot for curd setting to derive maximum nutritional benefits. The glazed variety though more attractive may not retain as many minerals as compared to the unglazed ones.
Step 2: Use whole fat buffalo or cow milk to get that perfectly thick and creamy texture of curd.
Step 3: Use warm milk to set curd - neither too hot nor cold. If the milk is too hot or cold, the curd will not set properly.
Step 4: Ensure that the warm milk with starter curd (a small amount of already set curd) in the clay pot is covered well and left undisturbed in a warm place. Only then will the curd set perfectly.
Step 5: Refrigerate the set curd immediately to avoid it becoming sour.
Choosing to set curd in a clay pot and following these handy tips will change the way each dollop of this creamy goodness is relished.