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Mattha - Spiced buttermilk is a cool and savory drink, an end product of making butter. In the days when people kept cows or buffaloes in their back yards (in India) for the family's milk requirements, surplus milk was first made into yoghurt and then churned with hand churners, to take the butter out. The liquid left over from this processes is called mattha or buttermilk. It is very good for soothing an upset stomach because it has lactobacilli and it is lower in fat than yoghurt.

Today we use regular yogurt & thin it or dilute it for similar results. 

Mattha #1

1 cup yogurt
1 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
thinly sliced pieces of ginger (optional)
1 tsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Whisk yoghurt, water and salt together. Cover and chill.
Heat a pan. Add cumin seeds and roast till they become aromatic. Pound coarsely with a rolling pin or pestle. Add to buttermilk along with ginger and chopped herbs. Allow flavors to blend for about five minutes and serve.

Mattha #2

1 pint natural yoghurt (low fat is better)
1 pint water
2 tsp. salt, adjust to taste

1 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
A small pinch of Asafoetida powder
fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Whisk yoghurt, water and salt together for a few seconds. Put the buttermilk in a bowl or jug, covered with a lid. Heat the oil in a "tarka spoon" or small pot. Add cumin seeds, Asafoetida powder, and allow seeds to splutter and turn brown. Then add the coriander leaves & turn off the heat. Add to the buttermilk by dipping the tarka ladle in it (stand back because it might splash when you dip the hot ladle in cold mattha), immediately close the lid. This will allow all flavors to infuse.


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