Milk is a versatile component that is used in a variety of dishes around the world. The country that produces the most milk is India. Since ancient times milk was not only drunk on daily basis by our ancestors but also turned into ghee and many dairy products. Ghee was used as a cooking medium as well as took part in many spiritual ceremonies. Dairy products are foods that have a significant amount of milk in them, combined with other ingredients. The benefits of milk and milk products have long been recognized, dating back to the Vedic period. Milk products were believed to treat ailments, according to historical sources. In Ayurveda, milk products are thought to cure a variety of ailments, particularly those linked to mental illness, such as irritation, restlessness, and overexertion. In addition to relieving insomnia, milk helps relax and soothe the mind. Nowhere in the world is cow regarded as holy for it lends milk to many. It was one of the life-giving animals for ancient Indian. Though today many make use of buffalo milk, for our ancestors only cow was the main source of milk.  


Most Common Milk Products Used in Indian Cooking

Paneer 

Today the craze for popular butter paneer or shahi paneer is beyond words. Paneer is made by combining freshly boiled milk from a cow, buffalo, or goat with lemon juice, vinegar, or curd. To separate the curds from the whey, stir the milk briskly until it coagulates. Paneer can also be made with other coagulants such sorbic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid, as well as their sodium and potassium salts. The curds are drained in a clean muslin cloth, which is then pressed to remove the extra water. To improve the texture and appearance of the paneer, it is submerged in cooled water for 2–3 hours. A softer and fluffier paneer can be obtained by pressing for a shorter period of time, such as 20 minutes. Although it originated in the northern portion of India, it is currently popular throughout the country. Paneer is a type of Indian fresh cheese that is typically sold in blocks or slices. According to reports, approximately 5% of India's milk is transformed into paneer, with paneer production increasing at a pace of 13% each year.  

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Dahi 

Dahi, also known as curd, is a semi-solid food made by souring pasteurized or boiling milk with safe lactic acid or other bacterial cultures. Additional cane sugar may be present in dahi. It should have the same minimal fat and solids-not-fat content as the milk it is made from. Dahi or curd, other than skimmed milk dahi, sold or offered for sale without any indication of the milk class shall comply with the standards prescribed for dahi prepared from buffalo milk. Some bacteria use milk's citric acid to make volatile organic chemicals, primarily diacetyl, which is responsible for dahi's flavor. In the starter, a combination of acid-producing and flavor-producing microorganisms aids in the synthesis of dahi.  

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Ghee 

Ghee is clarified butterfat made primarily from the milk of cows or buffaloes. It is a popular fat-rich dairy product in Indian cuisine. Ghee has the highest concentration of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), which helps to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, body fat, and cancers. Ghee is made by heating, melting, and boiling butter until the transparent golden butter fat is separated from the milk solids. Ghee preserves longer than butter and can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container.