Most people often confuse buttermilk for lassi. However, technically buttermilk is the liquid that is leftover when butter is churned out of cream. Lassi is churned out yogurt that is made by fermenting the milk and adding a culture of bacteria. To make buttermilk, sour milk cream is whipped for 20 to 30 minutes, until white bits of butter and milk separate. Some cold water is then added to separate them, and the residual liquid that remains after removing the butter is buttermilk.
To make lassi, a yoghurt culture (Streptococcus lactis or Lactobacillus bulgaricus) is introduced to lukewarm milk and it is kept for 6 to 8 hours to make thick yoghurt. This yoghurt is then churned with a blender to make lassi.
In India buttermilk is also known as chaas, which is salted and has a more watery consistency than lassi. Buttermilk is less acidic and has a slight sour taste when compared to lassi. It is often consumed after adding black salt, cumin powder or sometimes chopped coriander leaves. It is an excellent digestive; that is why in some states like Gujarat and Rajasthan, it is served alongside a meal. Lassi, is often thicker and most of the time additional sugar, milk or milk cream is added to make it tasty. It is mostly consumed in place of a meal, sometimes with fruit chunks.
Which is Healthier, Buttermilk or Lassi?
Like lassi, buttermilk is rich in probiotics, which not only helps to strengthen the immune system by replenishing natural bacterial flora of intestine, but also break down lactose into lactic acid, thereby making digestion easier.
Similar to milk and lassi, it provides calcium, vitamin B12, zinc and proteins. Vitamin B12 is very important for converting blood glucose into energy. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can result in a person feeling weak or constipation and insomnia. Including buttermilk in your diet on a regular basis can help to combat vitamin B12 deficiency.
Lassi and buttermilk also help to get rid of acidity by coating the stomach lining, which helps to keep acids from moving up the oesophagus, thereby reducing the feeling of heartburn. Both are good for people with ulcers and help to control flare ups.
For people who are trying to lose weight, buttermilk is a better option. If one sees it from a calorie perspective, buttermilk has had the butter fat removed and more water added, so there is less fat. Whereas in lassi, even if it is made from low fat milk and you do not add any additional milk or cream, some fat is always present.
Buttermilk or chaas contains almost 50% less calories than milk or lassi, and almost 75% less fat with almost the same quantity of other nutrients. Therefore it makes an excellent choice over lassi or even milk.
From an Ayurvedic point of view, buttermilk is a lighter drink than lassi and does not increase Kapha. If you are pressed for time and do not want to make butter, you can make a cheat version of buttermilk by combining half part sour milk cream with half part yoghurt and whisk it. Sprinkle some salt and roasted cumin powder to taste and add few mint leaves for refreshing and healthier buttermilk.
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