Sadhya sambharam | spiced buttermilk.

spiced buttermilk, sambharam , neer moru, sadhya recipe, ramnavami recipe

Enjoy this low calorie, probiotic-rich summer drink, sambharam made with traditional yogurt. Also known as majjige or neermoru, this is the south Indian equivalent of masala chaas.

What is sambharam?

Call it majjige, neermoru, moru vellam or sambharam the thinned-out classic buttermilk drink is the ultimate respite from the blazing humid heat. With the rich probiotic content from the naturally fermented milk and slight spices, the sambharam is refreshing and light.
Sambharam is usually served as the last course in the Kerala sadhya and is often served in the cup of your palm to drink first before pouring a bit into the rice and having it as the last part of the meal.

How is different from salt lassi?

Salt lassi or namkeen lassi is a version of the lassi that is churned yogurt. This has no additional water added to it so is fairly as thick as a milkshake, whereas the sambharam is a dilute version. Also, the spices used in namkeen lassi are roasted cumin and salt. Usually, in sambharam it is a combination of fresh herbs, ginger and chillies that get pounded to add flavour.

Is it different from masala chaas?

Consistency-wise, the masala chaas are similar to the sambharam (neer moru). However, the chaas have black salt, crushed cumin added and not ginger. So the flavour profile changes.

Ingredients to make sambharam

Buttermilk: the key ingredient in this recipe is the traditional buttermilk. This is commonly called curd in India and is not cheese. This is traditionally set yogurt that has been thinned out and churned with water. This releases the butter and the remaining whey with milk solids is buttermilk.

Spices and herbs: The sadhya style sambharam has curry leaves, ginger and chillies pounded together to be added. The green chillies are optional depending on whether you need them or not. You can use serrano peppers or bird-eye chilli based on your taste buds. Curry leaves that are fresh give an aromatic finish to this recipe. You can swap or add coriander leaves, mint leaves or kaffir lemon leaves to the mix. Each gives out a different fragrance to the neer moru. The ginger that is usually added is the older ginger which is a bit more pungent.

Seasonings: salt is the only seasoning added to the classic sambharam. If the buttermilk is too sour, then you can add a pinch of asafoetida to alter the flavour.

Let’s make sambharam

Pound the spices and herbs: Scrape off the skin of the ginger. Add the washed green chillies, salt, ginger and curry leaves into a mortar and pestle and pound it a bit till they form a coarse mix.

Churn the buttermilk: mix the yogurt with the excess water. Using a whisk or churned, mix this well to break all the climbs of yoghurt. This gives a slightly frothy and smooth drink.
Now add the pounded mix to this and churn a bit more.
The drink is now ready and best served chilled.

Here is a video version of how to make neermoru.


Spiced buttermilk served in Kerala menu. Popular with the summer months this nutrionally balanced sambharam recipe will keep you hydrated. Described in the post are also the difference between neermoru and sambharam.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, Kerala, Malabar, Summer, Vegetarian, zero oil
Servings 4 glasses
Calories 48 kcal


  • mixing bowls and spoons.


  • 2 cups yogurt (low fat works perfectly)
  • 3 cups drinking water
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 6-8 curryleaves
  • 1 tsp green chilli chopped ( optional)
  • salt to taste


  • Whisk together the yogurt and water to create a thin watery solution.
  • Pound ginger, chilles and curry leaves gently to release the juices .
  • Add in the pounded fresh herbs and spices to the thinned out butter milk
  • Add salt to taste and mix well.
  • Store in claypot for the day or in the refrigerator.
  • Consume within a day or two.


Serving: 100gCalories: 48kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 127mgPotassium: 183mgFiber: 0.02gSugar: 6g
Keyword Indian drink recipes, Kerala recipes, summer recipes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Variations to the spiced buttermilk

Every time you make a change to the herbs or the spices that you add the neermoru (sambharam) changes its flavour profile. We do have a few favourites.

With lemon leaves: The pounded lemon leaves add a distinct citrus flavour to the sambharam, very similar to the one my grandmother used to make. I find this refreshing to have with a few ice cubes tossed in.

Hubli style: during the early days of my career my husband worked at Hubli and a lovely lady provided them with food. He lives the version of majjige served there. This has a tempering of mustard seeds and hing with red chillies that are stored in the thinned-out butter milk with salt.

Brahmi infused neermoru: when we have a batch of homegrown Indian pennywort, I like to crush it with salt ginger and a bit of green chilli to add to make brahmi neermoru. This helps to take away the bitterness of these leaves and makes them easy to consume.

With pounded shallots: From time to time we make a version with pounded shallots and red chillies. This imparts a slight rose colour to the buttermilk.

Add ashtachooram: this is my mother’s remedy for bloating and gas in the tummy. Ashtachoornam is an Ayurvedic mix of gentle spices that need to be made into a powder. This is slightly spicy and bitter so is stirred into the thinned buttermilk making a delicious and easy-to-have combination.

Stay connected

We love making spiced buttermilk on all the hot days as a refreshing beverage. If you enjoyed making some, share with us how it helped you in the comments below. Meanwhile, you can connect with us on Instagram, threads or Facebook too.
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sadhya sambharam


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Poonam Bachhav
7 years ago

Refreshing summer coolant..we make similar preparation and call it mattha in Marathi

2 years ago

nothing beats summer like buttermilk. the quintessential Indian coolant !

Mayuri Patel
2 years ago
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Different parts of India have different ways to prepare the chaach or buttermilk, such a cooling and nutritious drink. Interesting use of kaffir leaves in sambharam.

2 years ago
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Buttermilk is my favourite drink be it summer or anytime. I love to pair it with my lunch as it helps you digest as well as is refreshing. I like the addition of kaffir leaves in your drink

2 years ago
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My refreshing and healthy summer drink. I remember drinking glasses and glasses of spiced buttermilk after I won a pickle eating competition! Ahh sounds like a lifetime away now.

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