Neer Mooru / Spiced Buttermilk from Tamil Nadu


Neer mooru known as buttermilk in english is a common summer drink in South India. It is a simple concoction of water and yogurt mixed with salt and other Indian spices like mustard and cumin seeds and perfumed with herbs like curry leaves and cilantro.

I still remember this hiking trip we took in one of my school summer breaks. My cousins and I were hiking the hills around Mahaballipuram, Chennai (South India). It was summer of 1999 and it was May. The temperature were at all time high. We ran out of water we brought and all of us were tanned, tired and thirsty. Right under a tree an old lady was selling pots of buttermilk. My uncle suggested that we should try it as buttermilk is so good for the heat. We were little hesitant to drink it as we weren’t sure about the quality of water used in it. Still we went ahead and drank it. Gladly there was no stomach upsets for anyone. Warm lady in her late sixties served each one of a pot of buttermilk for less than 5 cents. Till date whenever I hike, I remember the serene face of that old women.

This was my go to drink during South beach diet and gestational diabetes.  Being a typical tropical country, South India is filled with hot and humid months during most part of the year.  Buttermilk is known to cool down your body temperature and stabilizes the good bacteria in the stomach. Hence in most homes, buttermilk is served as a mid-morning or late afternoon drink.

 Buttermilk with Indian spices recipe

A quick recipe for a drink you can enjoy in Phase 1
Serves 4
Source: My mom


  • 16 oz low fat buttermilk or 2 cups non-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida powder
  • 1 dry red chilly
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 (+1) cups water


  1. If using yogurt, beat them with 2 cups water with a whisk (for about 5 minutes at maximum speed) to make it frothy and smooth. Set aside. If using buttermilk, pour in 2 cups water and stir with a spatula to combine. Set aside. You can add 1 more cup of water if needed.
  2. Heat oil in a small saucepan. Once they sizzle, add the curry leaves and let it crisp. Then throw in the mustard seeds and let it pop.
  3. Next add cumin seeds, dry chili powder, asafoetida and turmeric powder. Saute for 30-45 seconds and switch off the flame.
  4. Add the above mixture, salt and cilantro to the whisked yogurt or buttermilk and stir to combine.
  5. Serve in a pitcher glass and enjoy it cold.

Additional notes:

  1. We like the buttermilk to be watery, so I add little bit more water (about another cup or so) and adjust the salt level accordingly.
  2. My list of food for Phase 1 is healthy and can be made well balanced with rice/brown rice/quinoa. Then it becomes ideal for women with gestational diabetes. This can be a sample menu for gestational diabetes
  3. This is also a type 2 diabetes food guide. Just add little bit whole grains like brown rice, kaikuthal rice, quinoa, barley along with tons of vegetables and little fruits (sometimes)

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