4 Easy Ways To Make Curd Without A Curd Starter

Curd or dahi, as it is fondly referred to in most Indian households, is an inextricable part of most Indians’ diet. It forms an important element of delicious condiments like raita. Curd is also regarded as an ideal winter food. You see, it is loaded with probiotics, which aid in digestion during winter. Alternatively, curd should not be consumed extensively during summer due to its heaty qualities. Similarly, homemade curd is considered a healthier alternative to store-bought curds which may be processed, and thus, may have had the nutritional value sucked out of them.

It is relatively simple and hassle-free to make curd at home. The dairy product, which introduces a hint of sourness to most dishes, is typically created through a process known as “curdling.” In this process, milk is coagulated in a series of sequences till the final product is obtained. Two primary ingredients are required for the preparation of curd at home—milk and a curd starter, which is also known as “jaman.” This portion of the curd is typically used to transform the milk into the curd. However, sometimes, this starter or jaman part of the dish may not be available for a homemade curd recipe. In such instances, use the below given alternate ingredients to ensure that the homemade curd sets properly. 

Green chillies

Green chillies are a preferred substitute in the absence of curd starter or jaman as they are abundant in bacteria which enables the milk to curdle. This, in turn, helps transform the milk mixture to curd. To get curd out of green chillies, one must ensure that the chillies, two in number, have been washed thoroughly and that the entire chillies, including their stalks have been submerged entirely into the lukewarm bowl of milk. The resulting curd should be ready within 12 hours after the mixture has been set aside to cool.


Introducing lemon juice into a bowl of lukewarm milk results in the reduction of its pH level. Consequently, the protein molecules present in the mixture stop repelling each other, and begin coming together; they begin coagulating, forming into thick chunks that can be classified as curd. In this way, lemon juice serves as an effective alternative to curd starter or jaman. About half the juice of a lemon should suffice in the creation of homemade curd. Cover the bowl of freshly made curd with a cotton cloth and set it aside for 12 hours before consuming.

Red chillies

Red chillies serve as curd starter alternatives in a similar way to green chillies. They are packed with lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that aids the milk to ferment into curd. Like with green chillies, ensure to immerse the entire chillies as well as their stalks into a bowl of lukewarm boiled milk. Shield the bowl of milk and chillies blend with a lid, and as with the other alternatives, leave the curd mixture aside for approximately 12 hours to cool down.


Surprisingly, not all curd starter or jaman alternatives are food items. Over the years, the metal silver has proven to be a respectable curd starter alternative. This is because silver is receptive to the lactobacilli bacteria, which assists in the fermentation of milk into curd. It is recommended to use a pure, rust-free, and 100% sterilised silver coin or silver ring as a curd starter. All one must do is place the silver object in a bowl of lukewarm milk and set it aside for 12 hours.