Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mattha --- Spiced up Buttermilk

'Mattha' brings back a lot of memories...all the weddings that I attended over the years, always curious to know what the menu would be, and hoping that it were a traditional Maharashtrian fare, mainly for two main reasons; the first one, that the sweet dish would be 'Jilbi' (Jalebei) and the second being, there would be several 'vaatis' (katori/bowl) of 'Mattha' to wash down the heavy and spicy meal! And then of course, there would be 'Masaale bhaat', 'Aluchi paatal bhaaji' (Patra leaves curry), 'Varan-bhaat', 'Hirvi chutney'...ok, I think, that makes it more than two reasons :)
'Mattha' is basically buttermilk with the addition of certain condiments. On hot summer days, as well as any other day, my mom would churn out fresh buttermilk, which we call 'taak' in Marathi, from 'saayicha dahi' (yogurt made from cream)-- the source for 'loni' (butter) or from regular 'dahi' (yogurt). We used to have 'taak' for lunch or sometimes even at teatime, when it was too hot to drink a cup of tea. This 'taak' used to be flavored with different spices and condiments like cumin powder, hing (asafoetida), at times, both, and sometimes a little ginger and at other times, just salt and a little sugar. And then there was 'Mattha', my favorite version of 'taak', which has a certain combo of condiments added to it. Thus, a typical Maharashtrian meal will always include 'taak' or 'mattha' at the end, whether it is a festive one or just a regular meal.
The 'Taak' that I used to have back at home, in India, was so rich and creamy because of its source-- Buffalo's milk! Unfortunately, there is no 'buffalo milk' here in the US, so we resort to the ready made store-bought buttermilk, which comes from cow's milk. Furthermore, this buttermilk is generally cultured buttermilk, which means that bacteria is added to milk to make it. It does not come out of the churning process that is used to make butter; hence the taste and texture don't match up to homemade buttermilk. The sacrifices one makes after coming here.... :( On the positive side, though, 'taak' or buttermilk, whether cultured or homemade, from cow's milk or buffalo milk, is said to have a cooling effect on the body. It also helps in digestion of food and hence, normally consumed at the end of the meal. I once read an article which said the benefits of buttermilk are so many, that Ayurveda prescribes buttermilk over yogurt! So drink away...
Coming back to 'Mattha', it is easy to make, very soothing and very Maharashtrian! I always
have buttermilk at hand and summer lunches are never complete without this chilled and spiced up cooler. Since this is a maharashtrian recipe, it is going straight to Nupur for the RCI-Maharashtrian cuisine event. Enough said, now lets get to the recipe...

Ingredients:(the measures given here are just to give an estimate)
Buttermilk 2 cups
Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
Green chilli paste 1/2 tsp (adjust according to the spiciness of the chilli)
Sugar 1-2 tsp (depending on how sour the buttermilk is)
Salt
Cilantro

Method:
Pour the buttermilk from the can into a bowl. If you are using store-bought buttermilk, add a little water to thin it out. Buttermilk can also be prepared at home from yogurt. For a rich and creamy taste, use full fat yogurt.
To the buttermilk, add the ginger-chilli paste, sugar, and salt. Mix well and check the taste. It should not be too spicy or too sour. The right flavor is, sweet with a hint of spiciness from the ginger & chilli and a little sourness from the buttermilk itself. Garnish with chopped cilantro. 'Mattha' is ready to be served.




18 comments:

Asha said...

We make it too in K'taka,call it Majjige! I love it,I have my grandmother's recipe at FH, similar to this:))

Tee said...

So many recipes are similar in K'taka and Maharashtra! I had actually forgotten about 'maajige'. have heard this name from my dad, who has spent his entire childhood in k'taka! :)There are many recipes that I haven't yet posted which have a kanadi influence :)

trupti said...

we make "mattha" in Gujarati cuisine too...but we add cucumber and mustard powder to it.....and then temper it...this is a lovely recipe. :)

trupti

Suganya said...

Tamilians have 'Neer Moru'... They are the good electrolytes..

Suma Gandlur said...

Love it. I am sure all Indians drink the spiced butter milk under different names.:)

Madhuli said...

Hmm..I love Mattha too. Especially during wedding Mattha and Jalebi make a lovely combination.Dip the Jalebi in Muttha and eat..yummy!U r mattha looks great

archana said...

I like the colour of your blog and the name of your site. Bhatukli reminds me of my child hood days.
I love the wedding feast you described.I miss that. For that you have to be in Maharashtra to be invited to a wedding every second day :)
Mattha is my favorite too. I just churn freshly set curds add some water and tak is ready.I find this easier :)

ushaprashanth said...

In buttermilk we just cut chilli, ginger into small pieces ..but ginger paste is new to me..

Sia said...

first time to ur blog Tee and what i see here? my fav masala majjige as we call. it is my fav drink for summer and i always keep a jugfull of majjige in fridge chilling...
by the way what is the meaning of bhaatukli?

Tee said...

Wow, this post has really been educational for me...
Thanks Trupti! Looks like neighboring
states share more than just boundaries :)
Suganya, is 'neer moru' recipe same as that of 'mattha'? I would love to know if there is something different...
Suma, very true!
Madhuli, I share your thoughts.
Thanks Archana! I really miss being in Maharashtra...but the funny part is you realize the value when you are away.
Usha, try out the ginger paste. what my MIL does is make a paste and then simply squeeze out the juice. That way you get the flavour but don't get the ginger pieces in your mouth. Grating the ginger also works fine.
Thanks for stopping by, Sia! Bhaatukli is actually the Marathi name for tiny kitchen utensils and items that we used to play with as kids.

Sharmi said...

that is a great one for summer. looks yummy.

Dilip said...

I love this drink...not had it in awhile...I have try it now...will use your recipe...thanks for sharing

Simple said...

I would like to know recipe to make 'taak' , the maharashtrian way.

Simple said...

I would like to know recipe to make 'taak' , the maharashtrian way.

Tee said...

Hey Simple,
do you want the detailed procedure to make buttermilk (taak)from scratch?

Simple said...

No, here we get buttermilk in store, its thick ,so I need just the procedure.

Tee said...

Hey Simple,
Mattha is the maharashtrian way of making buttermilk. Besides that you can just season it with some salt, sugar and cumin powder, or enjoy it plain without any seasoning too.

Tesa Celdran said...

Hello Tee, I would like the recipe of how to make taak the majarashtrian way from scratch.

I've just been to an ayurvedic doctor and he prescribes buttermilk in the afternoon, probably because its cooling.

Thanks!