Buttermilk is a popular Indian beverage which has many variations throughout the length and breadth of our country. Majjiga or Sambaram or Neer Mor a.k.a Neer Moru or Neer Majjige is a delicious variant of a spiced and salty buttermilk well-known across South India. This one basically is a regular buttermilk made of curd or dahi (yogurt) and water, which is spiced and then tempered too. Makes for an equally refreshing summer drink with cooling and digestive properties.
About Majjiga or Sambaram
Majjiga is a Telugu term which when translated to English simply means Buttermilk. This drink is also called Sambaram (or Sambharam) in Malayalam language.
Neer Mor is a Tamil term which when translated to English means ‘water’ (Neer) and ‘buttermilk (Mor). Hence, when put together the beverage simply means a thin, watery type of buttermilk which is tempered with spices.
There are other ingredients too added in this recipe, which makes it a spiced version as compared to the regular buttermilk.
Most of the regions in India have their own way of preparing this drink. In North India, it is called as ‘Chaas/Chaach or Mattha.’ In this North Indian variant recipe of mine, I have shared two further variations named the Masala Chaas and Pudina Chaas.
Then, in Maharashtra, Western India it is called as ‘taak’. The South Indian versions are this Neer Mor in Tamil Nadu, Neer Majjige in Karnataka, Sambaram or Moru Vellam in Kerala and Majjiga in Andhra Pradesh.
Neer Mor is a super popular beverage in South India during the summer season as well as during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami. This, along with Kosambari and another refreshing traditional drink Panakam are offered as naivedyam or prasad to Bhagwan Sri Rama. Post which, it is served to the devotees as well.
This particular beverage is also a very healthy alternative to your aerated soft drinks that are available in the market. It acts as a coolant for the body and has digestive properties. Thus, is beneficial for human consumption, especially during the sweltering summer season.
About My Recipe
Neer Mor has been a regular favorite at my place, while I was growing up. This Sambaram is thus, from my mother’s recipe book, which is one of the most preferred summer drinks with my folks, even till today.
Apart from curd and water being the primary ingredients, green chilies are added in this Neer Mor to give the beverage some heat and spiciness. You can skip the green chili and can add some black pepper instead.
The ginger also imparts earthy tones to the beverage. Some roasted cumin powder added to the moru also enhances its taste. I prefer the Neer Mor with a tempering of mustard seeds and asafoetida (hing). However, you can choose not to temper this Sambaram drink.
There are many variations of preparing the Neer Mor. We usually blend everything in a blender. But you can also use a wooden churner, churn the yogurt and then add the herbs and spices.
I have used curd to make the buttermilk. But note that you could also use the buttermilk that separates after churning cultured cream while making Butter.
You can serve Majjiga as an appetizer, just a cooling drink or have it post your main meals.
How to make Sambaram
Blend Curd (Yogurt)
1. Take 1 cup curd in a blender or grinder jar.
2. Add 1 teaspoon roughly chopped ginger, ½ to 1 teaspoon chopped green chillies and 6 to 7 curry leaves.
Instead of green chilies, you can add ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder.
3. Add salt as required.
4. Add 1 cup water.
5. Blend till smooth. A bit of butter getting churned after the blending and floating on top is fine and does tastes good.
6. Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix very well.
Do chop the coriander leaves very finely. At this step, you can also roasted cumin powder.
Note: You can stop here and enjoy the Sambaram drink without the further tempering steps.
If you prefer some onions, add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped pearl onions or small onions or shallots and mix with the Sambaram drink. You can also add some finely chopped kaffir lime leaves or lime leaves.
7. Now pour the Neer Majjige in a bowl or pan. Check the taste and consistency. For a thinner consistency, you can add some more water. Add salt, if you feel it is less.
8. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small pan. Add ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds and let them crackle. Keep the heat to a low.
9. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add a small pinch of asafoetida (hing). Stir and then quickly switch off the heat.
10. Pour the tempering along with the oil in the Neer Moru. Mix very well.
11. You can now add some ice cubes, if you like and serve Neer Mor or refrigerate and serve later.
If offering to deities or preparing for Ram Navami, then refrain from tasting.
- You can adjust the quantity of herbs and spices as per your choice and requirements.
- Instead of blending everything, just blend the curd and then add finely chopped ginger, green chilies and curry leaves.
- You could also make this recipe with buttermilk that separates while churning cultured cream when making butter.
- To make the Neer Majjige, you can also use a hand churner or wired whisk to blend the ingredients. A bit of butter getting churned after the blending and floating on top is alright and does give a creamy mouthfeel.
- You can make a thinner consistency by adding more water.
- Instead of green chilies, you can add ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder. Some roasted cumin powder can also be added when you are adding the finely chopped coriander leaves.
- For a gluten free version of this beverage, skip asafoetida.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe to make more of this salty and savory Sambaram drink.
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Majjiga | Sambaram | Neer Mor
- 1 cup Curd (dahi or yogurt) – fresh or sour
- 1 cup water or add as required
- 1 teaspoon ginger – roughly chopped
- ½ to 1 teaspoon green chilli – roughly chopped
- 6 to 7 curry leaves
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves – finely chopped
- salt as required
For Tempering Majjiga
- 1 teaspoon oil – any neutral flavored oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 small pinch of asafoetida (hing)
- In a blender jar – take the curd (yogurt), chopped ginger, green chilies, curry leaves and salt as required.
- Add 1 cup water. Blend very well. Some butter floating on top is fine and tastes good.
- Pour the spiced buttermilk in a bowl or pan. Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a small pan or a tadka pan.
- When the oil becomes hot, lower the heat. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle.
- Once they crackle, then add a pinch of asafoetida (hing). Mix and then quickly turn off the heat.
- Pour the tempering mixture in the Neer Mor. Mix well.
- You can serve Majjiga immediately or chill it in the fridge and serve later. Optionally if you like, a few ice cubes can also be added if serving immediately.
- Serve any leftovers in the fridge for 1 day only.
- You can make this drink with the buttermilk that is obtained when cultured cream is churned to make butter.
- You can add less or more of the herbs and spices as per your choice.
- The consistency can be made more thin by adding more water.
- Instead of blending everything, you can opt to just blend the yogurt and then later add the finely chopped ginger, green chilies and curry leaves.
- For blending, you can also use a hand churner or a wired whisk.
- For a gluten free version of this drink, skip asafoetida.
- The recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Sambaram recipe from the archives, originally published in April 2017 has been updated and republished on February 2023.