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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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yak the male of the species Bos grunniens, belonging to the same family as the bison, cow, water-buffalo, and eland. It is the female of the species, called dri, not yak, which is the well-known source of food in tibet and nearby mountainous regions. It is uphill work trying to persuade Europeans and Americans to use the word ‘dri’, since in the English language yak has come to mean both genders. However, one should try, since writing about ‘yak milk’ is as absurd as writing about ‘ox milk’.

Dri milk is richer than cow’s milk because it contains more butterfat. It is readily turned into yoghurt (sho) in Tibet and one way of making butter starts with this yoghurt. When butter is made, thin buttermilk will be left over and this can be turned into a soft cheese (chura loenpa) which is much used in Tibetan cookery.