The wedding pictured here is mine, not Jayanthi Mandels. And dahi was not served because our reception was given by Ranjit’s manager’s wife, Eunice Milne, who was not Indian. Thank you, dear Eunice and Donald. We shall never forget you. Their daughters, Patricia and Verity were our bridesmaids.
The sweet, creamy dahi at the Calcutta wedding of Jayanthi Mandel came from Gangaram. Indian cows yield only a cup or two of milk a day but with a butterfat content so high that, of all Western cows, only Jersey cows can match it. First, stirring all the time so that it does not catch at the bottom, the milk was boiled over a fire burning dried cowdung. When the milk had cooled to blood heat, dahi starter was stirred in. And one other secret ingredient. The pots were then covered and pulnged into the river to cool and set. I found a way of making it at home. Boil a litre of milk, then plunge the pan into a basin of cold water. Cool till luke warm. Heat the oven to the lowest heat it will go. Put two tablespoons of plain yoghurt in a jug. You only need yoghurt the first time you make it. Add a heaped tablespoon of milk powder, and a little of the warmed boiled milk. Mix them throughly then pour into the saucepan of milk and stir till all is blended. Pour into a bowl and put it in the oven. You can leave it overnight, or take it out when the yoghurt is set. When it is set put it straight into the fridge. Thereafter, each time you make it, use a table spoon of your own yoghurt for starter. In this way you can make a litre of yoghurt for about a pound. I can’t tell you how to make it sweet and pink, because that’s a secret.