Chaas is India’s popular summer drink made with yogurt, spices and herbs. Also known as buttermilk in English, chaas is the ubiquitous Indian beverage, often served with meals. It is a cooling, refreshing and low calorie drink, free of additives and sugar. Also known as chaach, moru, majjige, majiga and mattha, it is made in households throughout the country.
It is also available in other parts of the world: in Bangladesh it is called Borhani, in Nepal it is mattha or mohi, in the Middle East it is Ayran. Like in India, each region has its own flavors. In North India, buttermilk may be flavored with cumin or mint. Down in South India, it is more likely to be flavored using curry leaves and perhaps mustard seeds that are fried in oil or ghee.
In Bengal, it is typically flavored with a variety of lemon available in the state (called gondhoraj lebu, locally). The western Indian version has a number of different spices added to it. So there are plenty of ways a chaas is made and enjoyed.
So if you are wondering What is chaas? It is simply Indian spiced buttermilk!! Traditionally, buttermilk was the whey that was left over after churning butter from cultured full-cream milk. Hence the name buttermilk, the cultured milk from which butter has been removed.
But traditionally in India, it was made from cultured cream, curd or yogurt. So here, Indian chaas is the same, a mix of yogurt and water. It has some spices & herbs added for their digestive and cooling properties. These ingredients also make the drink more delicious and palatable.
To make chaas, yogurt or curd as it is called in India, can be of any type: made of full cream milk, low fat milk or even fat-free milk. You can even use ready-made plain and unsweetened curd or yoghurt for this drink.
Different ways of making
While it would seem simple enough to mix together curd with water and add spices, there are many different ways of making chaas so that you get a more homogenous blend. In this post I share 2 ways to make it with and without a blender.
In traditional households and even today, in Indian villages, the old-fashioned madhani is used. This is typically a wooden or metal whisk with blunt blades used to churn the mixture using both hands. It blends the two ingredients and also adds froth.
Now, you are more likely to use a hand-held whisk, an electric beater or a blender to make the chaas. Obviously, the electric equipment make the job easier if you are making in larger quantities. However usually I make chaas the most simplest way using a whisk which I have shared below.
How to make Chaas (Stepwise Photos)
When you make chaas, do keep in the mind that the proportions of yogurt and water differ according to the consistency of the yogurt you use and your own taste. You may want your chaas to be thicker, in which case reduce the water. Also note that chaas is thinner than lassi.
So for a thinner consistency, as you whisk or blend, dilute it with more water as desired. For the same reason, you may want to add more or less salt & spices to your taste.
using a blender
1. To a blender jar add plain yogurt (curd). I used ¾ cup homemade curd /yogurt made from whole milk.
2. Next add
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves (without stalks) 4 to 5 grams. (you can reduce if you don’t like)
- 1 tablespoon coriander leaves
- small green chilli or ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ to ¾ inch fresh peeled ginger (you can also reduce if you prefer)
- ⅓ teaspoon black salt & ¼ teaspoon regular salt (adjust to taste)
- ¾ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
3. Blend until smooth. Pour water. I used about 1¾ cups water. You can use ice, do keep in mind that ice will dilute the drink. In that case, replace some of the water used here with ice.
4. Blend until frothy.
Transfer to serving glasses. Garnish with cumin powder, chaat masala and 1 to 2 mint or coriander leaves.
Masala chaas without blender
For this version I just whisk all the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then add water. Also I use black pepper instead of green chilli & dry ginger or chaat masala in place of fresh ginger. This kind of chaas has the leaves in it since they are not blended.
Mint and coriander leaves are mouth fresheners so we personally don’t mind chewing off the leaves when we drink the chaas. If you don’t like them then make it the other way by blending, like I have shown in the earlier pictures.
1. To a large mixing bowl or a pitcher add the following:
- ¾ cup chilled yogurt
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala (or ¼ teaspoon dry ginger powder, adjust to taste)
- ¾ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
- ¼ black salt + ¼ to ½ regular salt (adjust to taste)
- ¾ tablespoon fine chopped coriander leaves
- ¾ tablespoon fine chopped mint leaves
2. Whisk them together until smooth.
3. Then add 1¾ cups chilled water to bring to consistency. I also add some lemon juice at this stage for a more refreshing flavor and it is optional. Do not add if your yogurt is sour.
4. Whisk well until frothy.
Pour to serving glasses.
Sprinkle chaat masala & roasted cumin powder as required. Enjoy your chaas often, more especially in summer. Make it a point to include it in your meals.
In traditional households, matka, an earthen pot is used to keep the chaas cool, at a pleasant temperature, so it tastes more refreshing for longer. Storing curd & chaas in earthen pots is believed to rehydrate and keep us cool during summers. You can easily store chaas in the refrigerator for a day beyond that the flavors will begin to be lost.
If you want to keep it at room temperature without refrigerating, then do use cold water, ice and cold yoghurt to make it. Also note that blending will warm the beverage slightly.
Benefits of spiced buttermilk
If you think about it, yoghurt is made from milk, and has all the health benefits that milk has. So you get more calcium. Then it is fermented and cultured. So it has probiotics (gut-friendly bacteria) that improve gut health. Some of the health benefits of chaas include:
- Cooling and refreshing drink – it cools the system in summer and prevents dehydration.
- Improves electrolyte balance – since it has potassium, added salt and other spices in it, it keeps the electrolytes in balance, preventing problems associated with heat and sweat.
- Adds nutrition – chaas has calcium, B vitamins, is rich in proteins and all the nutrients present in milk, so helps with bones and teeth.
- Helps with digestion – thanks to the probiotic effect, buttermilk helps with the digestive process. When you add cumin powder and ginger to it, this also aids in digestion.
- Reduces acidity – though it is somewhat tangy, the buttermilk actually helps counter acidity in the stomach, caused by heavy and spicy food.
- Helps manage high blood pressure – studies have shown that drinking chaas regularly helps manage high blood pressure in those who suffer from hypertension.
Apart from these, when you add other spices and ingredients to chaas, you get health benefits from those as well.
Masala chaas in a blender
How to make Chaas without blender
- When I make pudina masala chaas in blender, I usually add a lot of mint leaves, about 1/3 cup for 2 servings. If you don’t prefer you may just add a few leaves.
- I also squeeze some fresh lemon in the chaas as it makes it more refreshing. You may skip that if your yogurt is sour.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
Chaas Recipe (Indian Buttermilk)
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 1g
Vitamin A 311IU6%
Vitamin C 10mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.