Home-Made Yoghurt

Maasteh Khanagi

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

    (Makes 1 kg 4 Cups )

Appears in

Parwana

Parwana

By Durkhanai Ayubi

Published 2020

  • About

The Afghan diet includes liberal amounts of yoghurt – either spooned onto plates alongside a main meal or whisked together with garlic and salt, and drizzled over savoury dishes to balance out other flavours.

This home-made yoghurt is rich and frothy, and tastes much earthier than shop-bought yoghurts. After the initial batch is made, keep a portion aside to use as the starter culture for your next batch.

Afghans also use yoghurt to make a special type of dairy product called chaka: the yoghurt is wrapped in muslin (cheesecloth) and hung up to drain for 4–5 hours. Once dried, the yoghurt hardens into chaka, which will keep for a week or so, refrigerated. Before serving, it is mixed with a trickle of water until it is thick and creamy again, and seasoned with salt to taste. Chaka has a sharp flavour and distinctive aroma. It can be used in place of yoghurt for aush soup and braised vegetable dishes such as banjaan borani and kadoo borani.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 litres (6 cups) full-cream (whole) milk
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • tablespoons Greek-style live plain yoghurt

Method

Bring the milk and bay leaves to the boil in a small saucepan, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool to 50°C (122°F) or until still hot, but not scorching or lukewarm, to touch.

Whisk the yoghurt into the milk until frothy, then pour into a clay pot or other suitable container, such as a glass or stainless-steel bowl. Cover the container with a clean tea towel and place a lid securely on top. Wrap the whole thing in a thick blanket and place it somewhere warm or at room temperature where it won’t be moved for 10 hours – it is important that the yoghurt is left undisturbed, or it will not set.

After the 10-hour setting period, place the yoghurt in the fridge, where it will keep fresh for 2–3 days.