Made from fermented milk, yoghurt has a great many uses. In western Europe yoghurt is perhaps most popular as a sweetened, fruity dessert or breakfast food. However, it can be consumed as a drink (such as the Indian lassi) or used in baking to provide moistness and flavour, or made into a kind of cheese (such as labneh). Yogurt is very digestible, even to people with lactose intolerance as the added bacteria converts the indigestible lactose into more accessible lactic acid.
Yoghurt can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, even mares, camels and female yaks; each has its own flavours and cooking properties. Yoghurt is available with a wide range of fat contents, from full-fat with added cream to very low fat.
Raita is a cool, fresh condiment usually made with yoghurt, mint and cucumber. Try our easy raita recipe for the perfect accompaniment to your Indian curry or as a dip with poppadoms.
Those seeking yoghurt as a healthy snack may be surprised at the contents of their innocent-looking pots. Check the label on the yoghurt you buy. Many manufacturers add stabilizers, gelatin, artificial colours and flavours, starch, and high amounts of sugar or fat to ensure their product tickles your tastebuds.
Yoghurt can be used as a dressing or as a marinade to tenderise meats, as in tandoori chicken. It is often used in northern Indian curries to give flavour and texture and to temper the heat of chillies.
It can be used as a replacement for cream or crème fraîche in most recipes. However, yoghurt with a very low fat content has a tendency to curdle when used in hot dishes, so allow the dish to cool first and don’t let it boil once the yoghurt is added.