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How to Substitute for Yogurt in Indian Curries

by Deborah Lundin

While the addition of yogurt helps create a thicker, smoother and creamier curry sauce, it's not always an option. Whether you simply don’t have yogurt on hand or are making a vegan dish, various substitutions offer equally delectable yogurt alternatives. The idea behind the substitution is to keep the flavor similar while mimicking yogurt's slightly thick and creamy consistency.

When Yogurt Isn't Really Yogurt

Choose a dairy or non-dairy substitution similar to yogurt. Dairy options include sour cream, heavy cream and buttermilk. Non-dairy choices might be soy or rice yogurt, soy or rice sour cream or thick coconut milk.

Make a one-to-one substitute of your new ingredient for the yogurt. For instance, if you would have used a cup of yogurt, use a cup of your substitute.

Add the substitution to your recipe in the same step as the yogurt. Often in curries, the yogurt is added during the simmering stages to thicken the sauce. When using ingredients such as buttermilk or cream, you may need to increase the simmering time in order to allow the ingredients to reduce and reach the desired consistency.

Going Nuts

Boil raw cashews in water for 20 minutes to begin making a cashew nut paste. Drain the boiled nuts in a strainer and rinse with cold water.

Place the nuts in a food processor with 1/3 cup of water and blend until smooth. Add a few teaspoons of additional water if needed to reach a creamy consistency.

Add to your dish the same amount that you would have used yogurt.

Items you will need
  • Measuring cups or spoons

Photo Credits

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