Most South Indians finish our meals with yogurt rice. When we are looking for ways to shave calories, stay healthy and feel full, a fairly old-fashioned trick would be to take the same cup of yogurt you would eat, emulsify it with equal parts of water and drink it or mix with rice.
My mother grew up with 8 brothers and sisters. By the sheer economics of it, it was impossible to feed everyone yogurt rice at the end of a meal. So, one would have buttermilk rice instead. When I grew up, majority of the days, we would have yogurt rice with the occasional groans at buttermilk rice. Nowadays we buy yogurt at our local grocery store and have that everyday. As far as kids go, I realize the pull/attraction to something creamy as yogurt. But, as an adult, I am looking for super easy ways to fill my stomach without much drama.
This is not rocket science, but it is something we overlook on an everyday basis. We are constantly in amazement over the lack of correlation between how little we eat and our weighing scale results. One (among many factors) we overlook is the sheer density of food we eat.
Consider the very popular Greek yogurt, it is basically strained yogurt. Now, we are condensing the solid part of the yogurt even more. Yes, it is creamy, but you are a few dehydrated steps away from cheese. Now, there is nothing wrong with cheese or Greek yogurt. But, if we insist on having calorie dense treats at every meal, then ‘something’s gotta give’.
My mother tells me that my grandfather used to eat buttermilk rice with a steamed onion for his dinner everyday. He led an active life until he was 82 and was an admired and adored man. He may also have been on to something. Buttermilk (yogurt) has probiotics as many of you know. Onions (both raw and cooked) have prebiotics. Prebiotics is basically un-digestible plant fibers that feed the probiotics and keep your gut healthy.
Farmers also have rice with buttermilk and onion and green chilies as a meal (kanji). In many cultures, there are other variations of this meal called congee. You can make it as complicated as you like adding tadkas, pomegranate seeds, etc and make it instagram worthy. Or sometimes, you can chill with a simple meal and admire the simplicity of it.
Raw fiber, as a part of every meal, is very much missing in typical South Indian meals. Even small amounts will keep you full longer and lower the glycemic index of the meal. A simple meal does not require much, but sometimes, is the most satisfying.
Recipe – A simple dinner
Cooked Barley (or rice or any carb)
Buttermilk (Equal parts Yogurt + Water)
Pickled onion – chopped onion, lemon juice, salt, chopped coriander leaves
Oven roasted peanuts
Upgrade your meal from yogurt rice to buttermilk rice. It will keep you full and your gut will thank you for it.