Before a couple of years ago, yogurt was not something that I cooked with. I ate yogurt with fresh fruit and in smoothies, but that’s all. Then we started making yogurt at Appel Farms and I discovered the wonderful world of cooking with yogurt. Our yogurt is in the South Asian style of dahi, naturally thickened with no preservatives or gelatins. It’s about the same consistency as Greek Yogurt but is sweeter even though no sugar is added.
I love collecting cookbooks so I used our new yogurt as an excuse to run out and buy a couple of cookbooks. I love to scour local consignment stores for old cookbooks, particularly if they have the word cheese in the title. My favorite yogurt cookbook is The Complete Yogurt Cookbook by Karen Cross Whyte published in 1970. I especially love the section on “Yogurt Folklore” that includes a paragraph on Dahi.
“East Indians eat dahi plain or thinned with water as a beverage. They claim dahi will induce sleep and calm the nerves. It even has “a soothing effect on hysterical subjects,” they maintain. Nationally known nutritionist, Adelle Davis, states that a deficiency of calcium causes nerves to become tense, and insomnia is likely to follow due to the inability of the body to relax…Yogurt is naturally rich in calcium; ninety-one percent of it is assimilable in one hour. Calcium from yogurt can readily be absorbed because it supplies both fat and lactic acid which aid in the assimilation of the mineral.” –Karen Cross Whyte
So, if you need a late night snack, yogurt is perfect!
One thing that is tricky when cooking with yogurt is sauces. Yogurt adds a rich, luscious tang but can be frustrating if not added properly. Yogurt will separate if heated too quickly or too high so proper tempering is essential, take my word for it, I learned this lesson the hard way. My favorite sauce is a yogurt gravy that I serve with roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
Creamy Yogurt Gravy
- 2 tablespoons pan drippings
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- 1 cup Appel Farms yogurt at room temperature (or substitute plain greek yogurt)
Put 2 tablespoons drippings in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour. cook, stirring until golden. Add water and bouillon cube. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat. Spoon 1/3 of the roux into the yogurt and whisk. Pour the mixture into the pan and heat to serving temperature.
Lemon Roast Chicken
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 roasting chicken
- 1 stalk celery, cut in 2 inch pieces
- 1 small lemon wedge
- 1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oregano. Brush entire chicken including cavety with the lemon marinade. Place celery and lemon wedge in cavity. Place chicken in a shallow baking pan. Pour water into pan. Roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, baste chicken occasionally with pan drippings. Chicken will be done when the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165 degrees F. Serve with Creamy Gravy.
Recipe from Yogurt Cookery (another favorite book) published 1978 by Sophie Kay