Indian cooking tastes so good because of the milk products that go into a dish. Dal and several curries are tempered with a dollop of ghee; dishes like karhi, curd rice and many more are cooked with a generous helping of yoghurt; Mughlai gravies and rich, Indian sweets can’t do without a pot of cream; and, milk of course is the lifeblood of several Indian sweets. Roshogolla, sandesh, kheer, kalakand – all are made with lots of milk.
Ghee: Ghee or clarified butter is made by boiling pure, white butter until the clear fat separates. Normally, the fat soldifies into granules, called 'danedar' (seeded) ghee in the north. If stirred continuously while boiling, the ghee becomes a smoother solid, which is considered less flavourful than danedar ghee.
A dollop of pure ghee (from butter) is usually added to paranthas , khichdi(a rice and lentil dish), rice and upama(a porridge made from cream of wheat)or halwa.
Malai: Malai or cream is formed when milk is boiled and cooled. Malai is used in sweets and Mughlai gravies. Malai, milk, and butter have legendary importance in Indian tradition devolving from the pastoral Aryans who measured their wealth in cows. Krishna, the most beloved avatar in the Hindu pantheon, was a celebrated 'butter thief' (makhan chor) as a child.
Yoghurt: Yoghurt, also known as dahi, doi and of course curd is a staple in Indian diet. Yoghurt is eaten plain or as raitas or pachadies or hot chutneys with vegetables and fruit added to it; beaten thin with water and seasoned as a summer drink; added by the spoonful and browned in gravies; steamed with sugar and garnished with sultanas and nuts as a pudding; eaten with rice and rotis. Curd was given religious sanctity as Krishna’s favourite food along with milk and butter.
by Chandana Banerjee