Mamta's Kitchen

Lassi 3, A Savoury Yoghurt Drink With A Tarka-Maththa

Namkeen Lassi or Mattha or Chachh, Tarka Wala

Mamta Gupta


Mattha is a refreshingly cool, savoury drink, an end product of making butter from yoghurt/dahi. In the days when people kept cows or buffaloes in their back yard for their family's milk requirements, surplus milk was first made into yoghurt and then churned with hand churners, to take the butter out. The liquid left over from this process was/is called mattha or buttermilk. Any surplus mattha was distributed amongst neighbours and servants. I remember my mum making fresh butter/mattha most mornings, because my parents kept a cow or a water-buffalo until we moved to a big city. These days, it can be made by simply diluting the skimmed milk yoghurt with water and beating/blending it. Maththa is very good for soothing an upset stomach because it has lactobacilli, the good bacteria of the stomach and it is lower in fat than yoghurt, easier to digest.

9th October 2011; I was served this maththa on a Jet Airways flight, with a south Indian style tempering (see below) on a recent trip from India, as shown in picture. I do often add a 'tarka' to my Maththa, but it is in north Indian style, with cumin seeds.

Makes 1 litre.


  • 1 pint or 500 ml. fresh natural yoghurt (low fat, skimmed milk yoghurt is better)

  • 1 pint or 500 ml water

  • 2 tsp. salt, adjust to taste

  • 1/4 tsp. roast cumin, coarsely ground

  • For Tarka or Tempering:

  • 1 tsp. oil

  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds

  • A small pinch of asafoetida powder

  • Alternative Tarka, South Indian style:

  • 1 tsp. oil

  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

  • A small pinch of asafoetida powder

  • 4-6 curry leaves (meetha neem)

  • 1-2 green chillies, finely sliced

  • Optional

  • A couple of mint leaves finely torn


  1. Whisk yoghurt, water and salt together for a few seconds. If you are using low fat yoghurt, there is no need to churn it too much, as there is no butter/fat to remove.

  2. Put the buttermilk in a bowl or jug, covered with a lid.

  3. optional

  4. Stir in mint leaves.

  5. Tarka or tempering

  6. Heat the oil in a tarka spoon or ladle.

  7. Add cumin seeds/mustard seeds and asafoetida powder and allow seeds to splutter and turn brown. If using curry leaves and green chillies, add now and let them fry for 5-10 seconds.

  8. Add to the buttermilk by dipping the ladle in it (stand back because it might splash when you dip the hot ladle in cold mattha), immediately closing the lid. This will allow all flavours to infuse.


  • Some people like to add a little chilli powder to their mattha.

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