7 South Indian Buttermilk Recipes For This Summer
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Buttermilk is a popular beverage that is drunk almost everywhere in the world. In southern Indian regions, buttermilk is a staple dish. Some people prepare curry-based dishes with buttermilk, especially in the summers, to maintain proper hydration and also keep the body cool.  

One classic is mor kuzhambu, a spicy buttermilk curry made with sautéed vegetables like carrots and beans that soak up the sour liquid. Raita is a condiment made by whisking together cool buttermilk with grated vegetables and spices like cumin and black pepper. Lassi is another staple, blending buttermilk with ice, fruit like mango or banana, and sugar or salt for either a sweet or savoury beverage. With its tangy flavour and cooling properties, buttermilk is the perfect ingredient for beating the heat during an Indian summer. Here are seven delicious dishes that highlight the versatility of buttermilk in South Indian cuisine.  

Kumbalakai Majjige Huli (Ash Gourd Buttermilk Curry)  

This flavourful curry starts with a base of tangy buttermilk and freshly ground coconut that perfectly complement one another. Various vegetables like okra, pumpkin, cucumber, and squash can be added to the mix, soaking up the rich flavours of the sauce. The curry can be spiced up with green chillies according to your preference. This authentic Karnataka recipe is a staple at celebrations and festivals across South India. The smooth, cooling buttermilk and coconut gravy pair wonderfully with steamed rice, making it a comforting and wholesome meal.   

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Murungakkai Mor Kuzhambu (Drumstick Buttermilk Curry)  

Made by simmering chopped drumsticks in a sauce of yoghurt, chilli powder, turmeric, and curry leaves. The drumsticks add a meaty texture while providing nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals. Served over steaming white rice with a side of roasted yam, this easy drumstick curry makes for a nutritious, comforting weekend lunch. The tender, juicy drumsticks soak up the flavours of the spicy, tangy buttermilk gravy in this simple yet delicious South Indian curry.  

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Karnataka Style Majjige Huli (Tasty Buttermilk Rasam)  

This dish is an absolutely delightful buttermilk dish from Karnataka. It starts with fresh, chilled buttermilk that is tempered with a flavourful blend of aromatic spices and grated coconut. A masala made of whole spices like cumin seeds, black peppercorns, and dried red chilies is freshly ground and added to the buttermilk, infusing it with a wonderful medley of flavours. This quick and easy Karnataka-style buttermilk rasam is best enjoyed with steamed rice, crispy fried rice noodles called akki peni, carrot pickles, and saaru, a lentil soup.    

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Mambazha Mor Kuzhambu (Ripe Mango Mor Kuzhambu)  

Mambazha Mor Kuzhambu is a tasty South Indian curry featuring ripe mangoes simmered in a spiced coconut-yoghurt gravy. The sweetness of the mangoes contrasts nicely with the savoury spices and tangy yoghurt. The gravy is made by sautéing onions, garlic, chillies, and spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and red chilli powder to bloom their flavours. Tomato and tamarind paste help provide tartness and body to the gravy. Once the gravy comes together, diced, ripe mangoes are gently stirred in and cooked until just tender. This mango curry pairs wonderfully with a meal of steamed rice, chow chow thoran, and elai vadam.   

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Paruppu Urundai Mor Kuzhambu (Lentil Balls in Yoghurt Curry)  

Paruppu Urundai Mor Kuzhambu is a flavourful South Indian dish made with spiced lentil balls in a tangy yoghurt curry. The lentil dough is rolled into balls, steamed, and then simmered in a tomato-based gravy flavoured with turmeric, ginger, and curry leaves. The lentil balls absorb the flavours of the curry as it simmers. This protein-rich, comforting dish can be served with rice for a complete vegetarian meal.  

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Bannada Saute Majjige Huli (Malabar Cucumber Mor Kuzhambu)  

Bannada Saute Majjige Huli is a traditional yoghurt-based dish that features malabar cucumbers cooked in a tangy and mildly spiced yoghurt gravy. Also called Puli Kajippu in the Tulu language, this dish gets its name from the Kannada words "bannada," meaning colourful and "saute," meaning cucumber. 

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The cucumbers are sliced into thin sticks or cubes and gently simmered in the yoghurt gravy, flavoured with curry leaves, mustard seeds, ginger, and ili. This dish is typically served with rice, papadum wafers, and a spicy vegetable side dish.    

Iyengar Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu (Crispy Okra Mor Kuzhambu)  

Iyengar Style Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu is a flavourful South Indian curry made with crispy okra cooked in a thick, spicy yoghurt sauce. This dish is a variant of the traditional Pooshanikai More Kuzhambu, often found in Iyengar Brahmin households. 

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Without using garlic or garam masala, it derives its complex flavours from yoghurt, spices like chilli powder, and the addition of crispy okra. Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu is usually served with steamed rice and a vegetable poriyal, making for a complete and delicious South Indian meal.