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Sour Cream – Sweet, Salty and Baked

Coffee Cake, Macaroni and Cheese and Sandwich Spread.

Chakka or sour cream is an underused ingredient in Indian cooking. The popular sweet shrikhand is the only dish that regularly uses this versatile ingredient. Yes, it has calories but if you make it with lowfat or skim milk then the calorie content reduces significantly. In the case of shrikhand there is a large amount of sugar added increasing the calories and making the total content less healthy.

Sour cream enhances the flavours and textures of many foods with relatively less quantitites. Even a small amount can enhance the taste of many dishes. A bit of planning has to go in using it India…extra curds has to be set so you can hang the curds overnight in a cheesecloth and don’t forget to buy the extra milk to make the extra curds. I have made it in advance and ended forgetting about it and up not using it. I decided that if I do not use it within 2 days of making it, I will make dip. Add fresh garlic, finely chopped green onions, salt pepper and lime to the sour cream. Served with fresh raw vegetables and my kids’s daily vegetable quota taken care of and they love the creamy dip.

So I try and remember my sour cream in the fridge and use it in different dishes. Adding to pasta sauce is an old trick to thicken the sauce. Recipes call for marcarpone cheese or cream cheese but neither are readily available. I use sour cream in macaroni and cheese –no more boxed instant, I make it from scratch and the family loves it.

Macaroni and Cheese

Indgredients 1 cup grated cheddar cheese or use Amul/Brittania if cheddar is not on hand 1 cup sour cream 1 cup milk 2 cups elbow macaroni 2 tsps butter Salt to taste ½ tsp rosemary ½ cup homemade coarse breadcrumbs

Directions Preheat oven to 200°C.

Melt butter in flat skillet. Add milk and bring to a boil and reduce flame. Add cheese and mix well, constantly stirring. When mixed add sour cream, turn off gas and mix well. Add salt and rosemary.

Meanwhile, cook macaroni just short of being completely done (noodles will continue to cook in oven). When pasta is ready, drain and pour into sauce mixture and mix. Add breadcrumbs on top. Put it in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. As soon as it is brown, it is done.

Coffee Cake This recipe is adapted from Ingredients: 2 cups sifted flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup sour cream

Topping 1/4 cup flour 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/4 cup butter, room temperature

Preparation: Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.

In another mixing bowl cream together butter with sugar until fluffy and light; add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing just until flour is blended. Blend in sour cream then stir in remaining dry ingredients.

Spread half of batter lightly into a greased and floured 10″ tube pan. Sprinkle half of Topping and spread with remaining batter. Sprinkle with remaining Topping. Bake at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Topping: Mix together flour, sugar, salt and chopped walnuts. Add butter in small pieces. Work butter in with hands until mixture is crumbly.

Sandwich Spread — Use this spread instead of cheese spread or mayonnaise. It is healthier and contains less fat. Grill some vegetables, add tomato and lettuce on some nice bread with this spread and your dinner is ready.  The recipe is adapted from Ingredients:

16 cloves garlic, peeled 1/4 cup chopped almonds, chopped 3 tbsp olive oil 1/2 cup cubed low fat paneer 1/4 cup sour cream 2 tsp Dijon mustard, use regular mustard if dijon is unavailable 1 tsp Worchestershire sauce 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley 1/2 onion, chopped 3 tbsp milk 1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce)

Preparation: Preheat oven to 175 degrees C.

Place garlic in a shallow, oven-proof casserole, drizzle with olive oil, and toss to coat. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the oil for at least 30 minutes.

Place almonds in a heavy frypan over high heat and toast the almonds until they are lightly browned. Let cool.

Scrape garlic and oil into a food processor and puree until smooth. Add paneer, sour cream, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Process until well-blended. Add the almonds, parsley, onions, milk and Tabasco sauce. Pulse until incorporated, but not completely smooth.

Scrape spread into a glass serving dish and chill for 4 hours.

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