Ramadan has arrived!
Nothing brings people together like food, and during Ramdan, the lack thereof. Ramadan at my parent’s house always consisted of the same ritual. My mother and I would vow to eat better meals, and healthier food. We would promise to cut back on delicious fried potato samosas and pakoras. We would eat fruits and vegetables and be content. My father would look at us with horror. I’m sure he wondered how we had the audacity to deprive him oil soaked foods.
Of course this never lasted. We would start out well intentioned and stick to our plan. But, within a week, we would break down and someone would begin frying something… anything really. And how can you avoid it? Whenever I smell pakora or samosa I think of Ramadan. I always remember my family coming together to prepare an iftar. My father making fruit salad, my mother and I wrapping and freezing samosas, my brother placing only 2 dates per plate (my mother set a 2 date per person, per iftar quota).
Sticking to tradition. I have vowed to eat healthy (stop laughing). I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’m motivated by the fact that I really only have a few select meals that will nourish my body with the things that it needs… not what it wants.
Yogurt. This seemed a good place to start.
Unfortunately, I failed, I think. Whatever it was, it was definitely more than 400 degrees from perfection. I followed a recipe my mother gave me. I googled some directions on how to make yogurt and in the end it was just a runny mess of chunky stuff. I wasn’t able to achieve perfectly smooth and creamy yogurt. If you’ve made yogurt successfully, please help me out!
I began by boiling 4 cups of milk. Once the milk began to boil, or froth rather. I stirred vigorously, and allowed it a good minute or two to boil. I then turned the heat off and let the milk come to a lukewarm temperature. At this point I added two tablespoons of yogurt with active cultures and mixed well. I stuck the pot in the oven set to 100 degrees and allowed the bacteria to do their thing. 8 hours later, I had a soupy yogurt. It was yogurt, I think, but thin. Almost like a raita. Draining some of the water that accumulated on top helped, but still… it wasn’t thick and creamy. So I googled some more and learned that homemade yogurts tend to be thinner because it doesn’t contain Pectin, a gelling agent.
What is a girl to do? Do I buy pectin? Do I just use some cheese cloth and strain the whole thing? No, going to the store is not an option. I must conquer bacteria!