After speaking about the origins of chicken tikka masala and the king of spices pepper, it’s time to get to the origins of one of my all-time favourite thirst quencher in this ‘lessons from the past’ series of blog posts – let’s talk buttermilk!
Nothing better than butter milk
Buttermilk is easily one of the most refreshing beverages you can ever drink and it is also one of the oldest. Ages ago, it was made more or less as a way to use up leftovers – when households in India and America realized that the residue water and little bits of butter left over after butter had been churned made quite a refreshing, delicious drink. What used to earlier be given to cattle and farm animals, soon this got really popular with the locals and after a point people would especially churn butter to drink the liquid left behind.
Sometimes the buttermilk was left out to set up with natural bacteria, thicken in consistency and become sour in taste to be seasoned with salt or sugar. This liquid began finding use in baked goods and in marinades.
Many years later when butter started being made with the help of machines, this liquid would often go to waste. But by then people had discovered the magic of fermentation and of yogurt, making buttermilk available for everybody to enjoy.
Over the course of time it has also had quite a few identity crisis situations – from the tasteless residue from making butter to the fermented tangy drink we know it as today. Buttermilk has come a long way and is indispensably used in the kitchen – as an important ingredient in baking, for marinades and also to get that crispy coating in fried food.
However my favourite avatar of it will always be in the form of the refreshing beverage that it is! I like my buttermilk with some black salt, a hint of roasted cumin, fresh green chilli and plenty of fresh mint and coriander. Preferably post a big lunch or dinner.
How do you like your buttermilk? Let me know in the comments section below.