By: Jennifer Kumar
There is absolutely nothing more tempting than the coolness of yogurt and buttermilk in the heat of South India. I knew about raita, pachadi and lassi, but not sambaram. What was this sambaram I was hearing of?
Then, along the road between Trivandrum and Kovalam, I found out what this sambaram was all about. One shop keeper was selling sambaram in small plastic packets about 5 inches by 8 inches deep. Immediately this packet took me back to the train platforms of Chennai where I had picked up a similar packet on a hot day to have water. That night I was violently ill. I almost dropped the packet not wanting to fall ill like that ever again.
I was assured by dad that the sambaram in the packet is very safe and hygienic, especially this brand – Milma.
The idea of spiced buttermilk was right up my alley, but in my first sip everyone around me thought I was hating it- my face communicated disgust. Of course, it must be an acquired taste as I seemed to be the only one in the family to even try it. But within the first five sips (around the time the photo in this article was snapped), I firmly decided I was in love! Everywhere we went, wherever I could get sambaram, I did.
I have tried a few other local brands of sambaram in Kochi, including one with the label with the orange cows on it, but Milma rules! I also tried sambaram in local hotels including Hotel Abad. In fact, in Hotel Abad, it was not on the menu, but in opposite of Kerala tradition of only offering very few items actually offered on the menu, the waiter asked us a lot of questions about what sambaram meant to us and made a “made-to-order” glass of ultra-refreshing sambaram for me! It was the best sambaram I ever had!
I have yet to try to make my own sambaram, but I have the recipe for ones brave enough to try it at home.
Related Posts/ Sites: Properties of Ginger | Properties of Curry Leaves | Recipe- Sambaram
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Part 12 in Series: Kerala 2007
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