recipe of neem flower infused buttermilk (veppampoo moar kuzhambu)
Neem flowers are edible and superbly delicious if you are not averse to a hint of bitterness in your food. In combination with some foods that are traditionally cooked with tender neem leaves and fresh flowers, the flavour is surprisingly good even if you are uninitiated regarding the use of neem in foods. You will start looking at tender neem leaves and blossoms differently once you taste them trust me.
I have been using tender neem leaves in the traditional Bengali neem begun (tender neem leaves cooked quickly with fleshy egg plants) ever since I tasted it about two decades ago cooked by my kitchen help and this neem flower infused buttermilk ever since a dear friend Nirupama introduced me to this Tamil delicacy. I end up plucking tender neem leaves and blossoms from my neighbor's tree every season and my sister has started drying them too seeing my interest in neem.
The dry neem flowers are an essential ingredient in Tamil homes as my friend Nirupama says. It was about 3 years ago when she welcomed me at her home with neem flower tempered buttermilk, knowing my interest in all things traditional and medicinal and I have been chasing the neem blossom season every year since then.
I know you would do the same once you try this recipe of neem flower buttermilk called veppampoo moar kuzhambu in Tamil. This refreshing drink is considered to be blood purifying and immunity boosting for the new season's ailments.
Recipe of neem flower infused buttermilk
3-4 tbsp cleaned fresh neem flowers or 2 tsp dry neem flowers
1 tbsp ghee
Pinch of asafoetida (heeng)
2 dry red chilies
¼ tsp cumin seeds
1 cup yogurt
2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the ghee and add asafoetida, dry red chilies, cumin seeds and neem flowers one by one and wait till they get aromatic. Remove from the stove and let it cool.
Blend the yogurt with water, salt and pepper using a wire whisk. Add the neem flower infused ghee into this and blend again.
You may want to remove the dry red chilies from the infused ghee if you don't like the chili heat, I remove the chilies as the ghee has already got a pleasant whiff of chilies.
Serve at room temperature.
This traditional veppampoo moar kuzhambu or neem flower infused buttermilk will make you crave for the flavours and cooling effect of this drink every summer trust me. Since Neem leaves have started sprouting here in Delhi and I know the blossoms have also started coming in some regions of the country, this buttermilk recipe will come handy if you find some neem flowers around your area.
Do try this recipe and let me know how you liked it. Your feedback is important to keep me motivated to write more on this blog, I have been guilty of not updating recipes and nutrition information here regularly but I plan to correct that now.
Please write in and stay tuned.