Yoghurt is an incredibly versatile ingredient, whether you’re whipping up a marinade or a fragrant curry, or creating a tasty salad dressing, dip or sauce, or making a delicious dessert for your family.
Not only is it a handy multi-purpose ingredient, but yoghurt also contains important nutrients like, protein, vitamins and its unique difference vs. milk, is that it contains live cultures that are so good for your health and digestive system.
Read on for our expert cooking tips…
The lactic acid naturally present in plain yoghurt has a gentle tenderising effect on meat, making it ideal for adding to all sorts of marinades. It’s widely used in Indian cooking as a way to soften chicken and red meat, and you can adapt these methods to achieve the most deliciously soft and succulent result in curries and braai dishes.
- Try marinating chicken breasts for a few hours in a mixture of plain yoghurt, lemon juice, spices and salt. You can then use them in a variety of dishes: tandoori chicken, butter Chicken, chicken kebabs and baked, crumbed chicken strips, to mention but a few.
- Marinate drumsticks and thighs overnight in yoghurt, together with garlic, lemon juice, herbs and spices, then cook slowly over medium-hot braai coals (or under an oven grill) for gorgeous, juicy chicken.
- Lamb legs, riblets and stewing pieces are also delicious after a long soak in a yoghurt-based marinade.
Plain yoghurt is so convenient when you’re making quick party dips. Serve the dips below with crisps and crackers, or with roast chicken wings, crunchy vegetable sticks, baked potato wedges or triangles of toasted pita bread.
- Cool, creamy Greek tzatziki is made with cucumber, garlic, lemon juice and yoghurt. Sometimes chopped fresh dill and/or mint is added for extra flavour. Click here for our easy recipe.
- Make instant dips by combining cream cheese with just enough plain yoghurt to create a soft spreading consistency. Now add flavours of your choice:
- For a chilli dip, add sweet chilli sauce and chopped fresh chillies (or a dusting of cayenne pepper).
- For a blue cheese dip, stir in finely crumbled blue cheese and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
- For a garlic and herb dip, add one clove of garlic (peeled and finely grated), a squeeze of lemon juice, and a handful of chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, chives and dill.
- For a light tartare-style sauce to go with fish, add lemon juice and baby capers, plus finely chopped gherkins, red onions and parsley.
Strained yoghurt is made by ‘draining’ natural yoghurt of its whey to create a thicker consistency. The longer you drain it, the thicker it becomes, until the point it turns into a lovely soft cheese similar to cream cheese. Many cooking traditions around the world have their own variations of strained yoghurt.
- To make strained yoghurt, pour a litre of plain yoghurt into a metal sieve or a colander lined with a piece of cheesecloth. If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use a clean, laundered kitchen towel or a pillow case.
- Place the sieve over a large bowl, and leave it to drain overnight. In the morning, you’ll see that the yoghurt is noticeably thicker, and that the clear whey has accumulated in the bottom of the bowl (don’t throw this away – it’s great for baking!).
- If you’d like an even thicker result, gather up the corners of the cloth, tie them into a knot, and suspend the ‘ball’ of yoghurt from a tap (or from a broomstick set between two chairs) and set aside to drain for another 12 hours.
- You can also suspend the yoghurt ‘bundle’ from a rack in your fridge – we recommend this if you’re going to be draining your yoghurt for more than 24 hours, or if the weather is hot.
- Find out how to make labne – a creamy Middle Eastern strained yoghurt – by clicking here for our recipe.
Plain yoghurt is a brilliant addition to all sorts of creamy salad dressings.
- Adding yoghurt is a great way of lightening up traditional mayonnaise-based dressings, such as those used for potato salad and coleslaw. Your dressing will have fewer calories if you substitute half the mayonnaise in the recipe with plain yoghurt.
- For a potato salad, use half plain yoghurt, half thick mayonnaise, plus lemon juice, a little garlic and plenty of chopped fresh chives or parsley.
- Yoghurt can also be used in place of mayonnaise in creamy dressings such as Ranch Dressing, Blue Cheese Dressing and Thousand Island Dressing.
Add lightness and a delicious tang to your desserts by using yoghurt instead of cream.
- Lower in fat and calories than whipped cream, our delicious NutriDay Vanilla Yoghurt is a delicious topping for sweet treats. Try it on top of fruit pies and crumbles, bread-and-butter pudding, malva pudding, soufflés and other warm winter treats.
- Or dollop cold yoghurt on top of summer desserts such as trifles, jellies, Pavlovas and cakes.
- Use yoghurt as an ingredient in mousses and smoothies. How about trying our yummy Strawberry Mousse recipe, made with NutriDay Fruit Low-Fat Yoghurt?
- Use yoghurt to make awesome smoothies – they’re so quick and easy, and a great way to pack more fruit into your family’s diet. To the jug of a blender or liquidiser, add NutriDay yoghurt in a flavour of your choice, plus soft fresh fruits, such as strawberries, bananas, melons, granadillas and nectarines. Whizz until smooth, and then thin with a little milk, if necessary. In summer time, add a handful of ice cubes or a scoop of vanilla ice cream to your smoothies for a super-icy treat.
Create instant ice cream by freezing our NutriDay yoghurts in their tubs, or using them in frozen desserts. Your kids will adore these treats:
- To create the easiest popsicles, put a six-pack of NutriDay yoghurts into the freezer for 30-60 minutes, or until the yoghurt is just beginning to firm up. Now cut a small slit into the top of the foil lids, and push a wooden ice-cream stick (or a metal teaspoon, bowl side down) deep into each tub. Freeze until solid, then pop the lollies out of their tubs.
- Make great-tasting fruit lollies – these are fabulous in summer when you’re looking for a healthy snack for the kids. Click here for full instructions on how to make the yummiest lollies using fresh fruit and NutriDay yoghurt.
- Use yoghurt to make a variety of dreamy frozen desserts. Try our Nutty Yoghurt Semifreddo with biscuits and nuts.