A bacteria called Danny and a drink called Kefir


Danny is the good bacterium in Moina Oberoi’s Kefir as I discovered, thanks to Brown Paper Bag (I always find something useful there ). You have to love what you do when you start naming  your favourite strain of bacteria 🙂

Read the well-written article and interview here http://brownpaperbag.in/delhi/food-and-drink/moskefir-2/

Kefir is another of the Old –New things that come from ancient cultures and traditions and get rediscovered and reinvented and fashionable . Often for good reason -they’ve worked for thousands of years !

It is a fermented yoghurt/milk drink that is part of east European and central Asian diets. Russian nomadic tribes spread it into Europe.

TRivia : I read that the word kefir comes from the Turkish word keif, which means happy

I had been hunting for both kefir and kombucha in the city with no luck. The thought of getting my own kefir grains and managing this process (quality of milk, quality of fermentation, quality of refrigeration) has not been very motivating.

So when I read about it on  BPB, I called Moina and started on the path of colonizing my gut with a thousand Dannys in the quest for living a healthier life.

I like the taste – I have had it before but it was a sweeter American version. Moina’s is the real thing. Unapologetically fermented and sour. She sources raw milk from Sarda farms in Pune and makes her kefir fresh. She insists you refrigerate it immediately to keep it from fermenting some more. It continues to ferment so you have to be careful.

I found it light and easy to drink. It is like having sour lassi with soda as the bacteria makes the milk effervescent. (Someone on an online chat asked if she could add keffir to her bhatura mix to make the flour rise better- good thinking !).  If you are posh you can call it champagne milk .

Moina suggests many ways of having it – added to a salad dressing, as a smoothie, with fruit but I find it easiest to have it is the way I would have a glass of chaas.

While Indian dahi is also fermented with starters and the process of making it is similar, it is has different bacteria so the benefits may be different.

I am sure there are versions of highly fermented yoghurt in South India where the dahi is thinner and often sour, and it might worth exploring.

In the Middle East you get Labneh which also tastes like a fermented curd cheese.

But kefir is supposed to be the powerhouse of all the fermented milks. See Dr Axe -Food is Medicine draxe.com on the benefits of kefir . I am reproducing his infographic here but he has a very informative article on the website – do read it. I would go easy on the fighting cancer bit but treat kefir more as a natural detoxifier and anti inflammatory.

der axe kefir benefits

There is a water kefir  as well but I haven’t had it so can’t comment on it.

I have had kefir  for twenty days now and I like it.

It is too early to tell if my immunity has been boosted or my gut flora has been recolonized in a good way but I feel light and a bit more energised so something must be working.

It is lighter than drinking a bottle of lassi or having a bowl of dahi and you can have it if you are lactose intolerant .

You can order kefir in Mumbai from Moina at moskefir@gmail.com .

Let me know how it works for you

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