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Recipe: Chilled Kerala Buttermilk or Moru Sambaram

May 04, 2022 13:24 IST
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Summers always bring back fond memories of holidays at my parents's hometowns of Palakkad and Coimbatore.

In our childhood, when refrigerators and television sets were a luxury, we relished eating Kerala Moovandan mangoes from the orchards or gorging on sweet ice apples and fresh coconut malai on hot summer afternoons.

In April and May, if you visit any home in Kerala, chances are you will be offered a glass of Moru Sambaram or spiced buttermilk, which all of us cousins gulped down greedily and smacked our lips wanting more.

Unlike chaas, a variety of buttermilk more popular in several parts of India, my recipe for Moru Sambaram or Morum Vellam is spiced with salt, crushed curry leaves, green chillies, cumin and ginger.

It is refrigerated or stored in a matka (an earthen pot) for a few hours before serving to get a more flavourful drink.

Photograph: Divya Nair/

Moru Sambaram

Serves: 4


  • 500 gm thick yoghurt or curd (please click here for recipe to make curd at home)
  • 3 cups chilled boiled/mineral/filtered water
  • 2 tsp salt or as required
  • 1 green chilly, roughly chopped
  • 10-15 curry leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds, optional


  • Whisk the curd till it is smooth and there are no lumps.
    Add the water and mix well.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, gently crush the cumin, chilly, curry leaves and ginger.
    If you don't own a mortar and pestle, you may grind the ingredients.
    But be careful not to make it a fine paste.
  • Add this to the curd mixture.
    Add ½ a tsp of salt, or as required, and mix well.
  • Store in an earthen pot -- use a traditional method for best results -- or refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Note: Instead of curry leaves, my father would sometimes add crushed lemon grass or lemon leaves for a distinct flavour.

You may also add a little lemon juice or chopped green mango.

Vegan buttermilk can be made using vegan yoghurt, available from several brands. For Jain buttermilk swap the fresh ginger for ginger powder.

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