12 August, 2015

Buttermilk Sorbet. (No-churner version)

Linen Napkin (Vine, Charcoal on Ecru), from Greener Grasses [Touch Organic]
A delicious, guilt-free, icy cold treat on a hot summer’s day!

(Picture-heavy post, in which we cover the different types of frozen desserts, sorbet, granita, slushie, - not to mention the drink itself, - all with just one ingredient.)

Whether it's a sweltering summer, tropically muggy, or pouring monsoon showers, for me, it's always perfect for a frozen treat.

One of the most ubiquitous, popular, and healthy summer coolers in many parts of India, is buttermilk.

And, to make this sorbet, all I do, is freeze it.

It's that simple.

Traditionally made, this light drink is what remains when you remove the butter after churning whole dahi (live, cultured yoghurt) along with some water, the process that seperates the butter.


A low-fat, probiotic, health drink.

So, actually, buttermilk has no butter in it anymore! Rather a misnomer, eh?

Nowadays often simply made with water and dahi whisked together. This version might be slightly more tart and sharp, depending on the freshness of the yoghurt.

One of the reasons why I love this sorbet is that it's incredibly versatile, and can be paired with just about anything for flavour.


Just a dash of honey can take it to a whole new plane.

Both the bland flavour and the crystalline texture of this sorbet lend themselves very well to be paired with even a minute amount of just about anything you can think of.

Even more important (for me), is the fact that it can be served to everyone, even those with special needs (except vegan), because it has no sugar of any kind, nor any salt, nor chemicals.

It tastes great just plain and bland.  Slightly tart.

Or flavoured, or sweetened, or salted, or spiced.
(More posts coming up with those!)

Easy on the palate and gentle on the stomach.

Suitable for (and popular with) everyone: kids, elderly, convalescents, body-builders, ballerinas, diabetics, politicians, grandmothers, curryplants-in-the-garden, me.

 Of course, some of those benefits of consuming buttermilk must be duly discounted, since, in Ayurveda, frozen food (or even just cold food, for that matter) is not considered good for digestion.
(Please serve it un-frozen to curry leaf plants!) ;)

But so worth it! This has been one of those happily successful experiments in my home, that get made repeatedly in summer. 

Or ought to, anyway.

I had posted it earlier here with plums which worked really well together too!


Hardly even qualifies as a recipe! It's pretty much summed up in the title of this post (heh)!

But be warned, this is an unconventional sorbet for many technical (and general) reasons.

First, it does not contain sugar which is usually a critical ingredient in a sorbet and acts as a stabiliser.

Nor does it contain egg-white, also usually added for the same reason.

This means that it will melt faster and freeze icier.

On the plus side, though, the melted version is the very drinkable buttermilk!

Second, though it has dairy (which debatably distinguishes "sorbets" from "sherbets" according to some purists), it is dairy with all the fat removed, so another important element that would soften the texture is effectively missing.

It is, in fact, a lot like the shaved-ice dessert or 'baraf-ka-gola'/'chuski', that can be instantly turned into a dessert with the addition of a sweet topping.


A favorite combination concocted by Y1 is to drizzle Rose Syrup over it (the preferred brand being RoohAfza, which is a favorite from my own childhood days). Or the second-best, but favoured now because it still comes in a glass-bottle) Sharbat-E-Azam. Or any syrup of your choice: Orange, or Khus, or Kala-Khatta, or Lemon, or Grape etc.


I like it best just as it is, with no toppings.

With a fresh fruit and veg salad on the side, I can make even make a meal of it!
Linen Napkin (Ecru, Sheer), from Greener Grasses [Touch Organic]


The texture and appearance of fresh, driven snow, only, even better-tasting!


Ingredients: (Just one!)

Buttermilk - as required (500ml is a good start for two.) 

I used the live, cultured buttermilk obtained from churning the collected cream from home-made dahi (live yoghurt), which is a bit thicker and creamier than the version made by whisking together yoghurt and water (fat-removed after churning). Both versions will work, though the second one with be icier.

Freeze buttermilk in a suitable container.

When half frozen, take it out and break up the ice crystals either by beating it with a fork, or in a mixer or food processor.


Freeze again.

Repeat the above two steps at least one more time, again when nearly frozen.

This will lend a good texture to the sorbet.


It can't get any simpler to make, but everything lies in it's texture. So here are some suggestions to get it right -


* Of course, if you DO happen to have an ice-cream churn or gelato-maker,  just pour it in, and wait for the magic to happen. The easiset way!


Tips and tricks:

  • Don't skip the step to break up the ice crystals (unless you're using an ice-cream maker!).
  • If you popped it into the freezer, then forgot all about it, like i did, and found a frozen block of ice, don't worry. Let it thaw a bit, then hack at it with a blunt knife break into chunks and process.


Large crystals before the whizz.

  • A fork is good enough for this purpose if the quantity is small and if you remember to do it before it freezes too hard! Else you might prefer a blender or food processor.
Soft, powdery texture after the whizz.

  • I used the stainless steel jar of my grinder mixie, which gave excellent results.

Side-by-side comparision of the large unbroken crystals in the mixie, with the ice-crystals broken down after the blitz (on the spoon).

  • The final texture of the sorbet will depend on the technique used. Running it through a mixie or food processor (or using a gelato maker) will result in a smoother texture, whereas using a fork would produce a coarser, granita-like texture.

    Which might even be JUST what you want!


Viola! The delicate flakes of a granita are even better to highlight the subtle flavour of the buttermilk.

  • Another method of making the sorbet, is by freezing the buttermilk into cubes and then 'powdering' it in the mixie.
  • Can't be bothered to do all that freezing-and-breaking-up business, and no sorbet-maker(Also, please note, this may not be the best thing to try at a large gathering, since it melts fast)
  • Then why not try a "Slushie"?

Guaranteed to appeal to the inner child in you!

It's quite delicious as a frozen drink, too!


  •  Really super-chilled buttermilk is surely a healthier, tastier, slurpee than a syrupy drink, woudn't you agree?

  • As for me, I just like the basic version.

  • If nothing else appeals, just drink the buttermilk. That's delicious, too.

Note:This is the first of five posts that I'm going to be doing (very, very long overdue; but I promised!) to take part in the #artchain on facebook for which I was nominated by my friend, the lovely and talented Aarti. 
For these posts, besides the recipe, I will also be featuring products from my organic textile range Greener Grasses.

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