Why Do Indian People Eat So Much Yogurt?

Jan 23, 2013 11:31 am

Lots of reasons! Let this brown one enlighten.

indian food yogurt
Photo: fred_v on Flickr
Why do Indians eat so much yogurt? Uh, cause yogurt's awesome.
 

I've been getting pretty into our new Whatchamacallit feature. The whole reason I decided to "specialize" in food writing in journalism school was because food information is the information I seem to retain best and always want to know more about. Note: my school did not actually allow me to do this, I just kind of made it my thing despite their insistence that food writing was not a specialty and to please hand in my overdue investigative business journalism final as long as it no longer implied the collegiate apparel in the bookstore was made in a sweatshop. I was relieved when I graduated, too. 

Anyway, Whatchamacallit is a very advanced form of technical reporting I learned in JOUR9067: Providing Well-Researched Information In A Smooth, Flowing Manner Using Real-Life Facts And Examples; Quotes When Necessary. I listen to the food questions people ask, with my "cuuurious, very curious" face (some call it eavesdropping on strangers), then answer the question using the fewest number of words possible. Occasionally a juicy slice of food porn will be involved. Just look at this smoked salmon vs. lox deal. Beautiful. 

So why do Indian people eat yogurt, Jess? Right, the headline. I was contentedly eating a dosa in Curry Hill the other day when I overheard two people analyzing the contents of their thalis

"Why do Indians eat so much yogurt?" The wrinkly old white lady asked.

At this point, I whipped out the handy laser pointer, projector and pull-down screen I keep in my purse and proceeded to give this presentation. 

  • The cooling effects of yogurt's lactose soothe even the most severe of vindaloo burns. Here's a nifty example.
  • Most Indians are vegetarian, and whole-milk yogurt (the only kind Indians eat, by the way, because it's delicious) contains the protein, calcium and fat they need to keep on keepin' on.
  • On a related note, if you have milk, you can turn it into yogurt without losing any volume. A gallon of milk is a gallon of yogurt. "Yogurting" milk just amps up the protein, health benefits and flavor and with all those sacred cows obstructing traffic, there's a lot of milk going on.
  • It's a great curry-thickener. Indians need curry-thickeners sometimes, okay? 
  • Binding your rice and curry together with yogurt helps you pick it up and eat it with your fingers, in case you were wondering how Indians ate rice with their fingers. I'll show you sometime, it's all in the pinch and up-swoop, it's fun and way less messy than it sounds.
  • Quite frankly, you could leave a bucket of milk outside the door in India with a little simmered starter and have perfect yogurt in like, four hours. I've seen it. But...don't leave a bucket of maturing yogurt outside in India. Lotta cats. Like, so many.
  • The lassi is the national beverage of India when you're not chugging Kingfishers in a misguided attempt to soothe your vindaloo burn. Here's everyone's favorite.

And that, ladies and gents, is why Indians eat so much yogurt. I didn't actually say anything, I would sooner die than be that jerk, but the point is I have retained that information on why Indian people eat so much yogurt. And that is why you may want to rethink a classical journalistic education.

More Indian food for lunch on Food Republic:

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