While in Xinjiang, I fell in love with homemade yogurt. I've always been partial to yogurt, especially when mixed with mango pulp to create the delectable mango lassi, my favorite Indian yogurt drink and the inspiration for my screen identity, mangolass. (News flash: following a trade agreement with India, three new varieties of mangoes will be on sale in California this summer!)
But Dannon, Yoplait and even Horizon Organic cannot compare with the experience of eating yogurt in Xinjiang: thick, semi-separated curds, good for dipping bread, flavoring rice pilaf, or with a spoonful of sugar, the way I like it. Beijing yogurt has a nice consistency, but the preservatives give it an off-taste. Even the freshly made yogurt at our favorite Xinjiang restaurant, run by the Urumqi City Government Office, seemed thin and watery by comparison.
What to do? Make my own!
I'd tried once before, but with miserable results. This time I beefed up on incubation techniques and starter cultures. Several hours later - voila! Delicious, creamy yogurt - served right from the rice cooker, my stand-in yogurt incubator.
Easy, the Indian way: http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archives/2005/06/23/home-made-yogurt/
A little fussy:
Getting scientific: http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/yogurt_making/YOGURT2000.htm