Category Archives: Recipes

A complete guide to making dairy-free curd/yogurt!

Wondering how to make cruelty-free (i.e. vegan) curd, yogurt and buttermilk? Well, all you have to do is to substitute your milk (dairy version, animal based) with mylk (vegan version, plant based)! Okay, let me elaborate. Mylk can be made out of surprisingly many vegan sources: nuts (cashews, almonds), rice grains, coconut, soy and more. Vegan curd comes out best using mylk made of either peanuts, cashews, almonds, soy beans, rice or coconut.

Making plant based mylk

To make vegan curd, first we need to get the mylk ready. The basic steps to prepare plant based mylk acurd (1)re (almost) the same, as follows:

  1. Soak 1 cup beans/nuts/seeds for 8 hours (3 hours for cashews).
  2. Drain the water.
  3. Blend them adding some water in your blender, until it becomes smooth paste.
  4. Add the rest of the water to achieve mylky consistency. (Generally about 3 to 4 times the quantity of beans, nuts or seeds)
  5. Strain the liquid. What you get out of this is mylk.

Note: To make curd with coconut milk, just skip step 1 above. Blend fresh coconut pieces. Soak the pulp in hot water (equal amount). Strain with thin cloth after water cooks down. Repeat the process again with half amount of water and you get the mylk after which, the method of turning it into curd is just similar to above. This and other such pointers are available here.

Making the curd starter

Take small quantity of mylk to make the starter for the first time. If using peanut milk, rice milk or soy milk, boil them for 2-3 minutes and let the temperature come down until you can safely insert your figure into it. For cashew/almond/coconut milk, just warm the milk. Once this is done, either use the old vegan curd starter saved from the previous batch, or use one of the 3 options below to make the starter from scratch:

  1. Using Rejuvelac : Add 2-3 spoons of Rejuvelac in a small bowl of warm mylk and keep overnight. Rejuvelac is a home-made vegan pro-biotic drink (It is surprisingly easy-to-make).
  2. Using Chilli stems: Toss in 10-15 chilli stems into a small bowl of warm  mylk and keep overnight.
  3. Using plant based pro-biotic tablets (vsl#3 – available at any pharmacy store.

Setting the curd

  1. Boil peanut milk or soy milk let the milk boil for 2-3 minutes and then cool it down to a temperature so that you can safely insert your finger inside. For cashew/almond/coconut milk, just bring them to lukewarm temperature.
  2. To have good texture of cashew/almond/coconut curd, add 1tbsp cornflour or arrowroot (for 1-2 cups of milk) to small quantity of warm milk and add it back to the rest of the milk while heating. Keep stirring continuously with a spoon until the milk starts boiling or becomes thick.
  3. Add 2-3 spoons of starter (more depending on the quantity of mylk) and let it set overnight.
  4. It’s important not to disturb the curdling process till at least 8-10 hours.
  5. To get more sourness in the curd, keep it outside for longer than 10 hours.
  6. The texture of the curd improves after 2nd or 3rd batch.
  7. Once the curd is set, it can be saved in deep-freezer for a month to use as a starter for the next batch.  It stays fine for a month this way.

Other useful tips and resources on making vegan curd:

  • Video demonstration of peanut curd by Dr. Rupa Shah can be seen here. Peanut curd goes perfect with dishes such as raita, curd-rise, chat and butter milk, where in the added spices takes over the nutty taste.
  • If one needs to consume curd plain or with salt or sugar, then peanut+rice combo tastes awesome! Here the video demonstration for the same. In fact cashew or almond curd also works out perfect for the same purpose.
  • Recipe for Rejuvelac – a wonderful home-made pro-biotic drink, which is super-easy to make and also works as curd-starter.
  • Vegan curd How-to tutorial by Susmitha.
  • Another recipe for cashew and peanut based vegan yogurts by Harini at TongueTicklers.

At almost every Hyderabad Vegans monthly potluck or any other events, someone’s brought a curd dish (usually from peanut curd, sometimes cashew or soy curd). And, all the attendees – new/aspiring vegans as well as the old timers – will testify that it has come out yummy every time.

Everyone’s cup of tea!

I have always been a huge tea addict. And, before turning vegan, I’d invariably had tea made of animal milk. So, when I took up the vegan lifestyle, tea was one of the challenging aspects. Today, I am aware of a few amazing options for vegan tea (including one that totally resembles the taste of animal milk tea). But, 2.5 years ago, I didn’t know as much. One thing I knew for sure was that, no matter what, I should not – and will not – contribute to the rape and torture of cows. So, I experimented with lemon tea, herbal tea, masala tea, tea made from soy mylk, etc. I warmed up to these vegan tea options so well and so quickly that within a month of turning vegan, tea became a non-issue. I’ve never had any craving of animal milk tea since then (even when someone drinks it right in front of me).

Today, a tea loving new (or aspiring) vegan’s life is actually even easier! For those of you who want the taste of animal milk tea, but not the cruelty involved in it, here’s a magical solution! It’s been tried and (successfully) tested on a number of non-vegan guests in my house. In fact, after drinking this vegan tea twice a day for three days, an aunt of mine hesitantly asked me if we had to buy cow’s milk just for their tea! 🙂

The secret mylk of this tea is cashew+almond mylk – mixed in equal quantities. Very simple, very effective!

Recipe for making the cashew-almond tea:

  • To make cashew-almond mylk, soak equal quantity of cashews and almonds overnight (in different bowls). Blend them in the morning with water, sieve with a fine cloth. (Sieving is only necessary to make tea, for any other recipes with cashew or almond mylk, it’s optional.) This mylk can stay for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
  • Warm cashew-almond mylk if taken out of refrigerator.
  • Boil water with sugar, tea leaves, masaala (optional), ginger(optional) and anything more that you usually like to add in your tea.
  • Add the cashew-almond mylk to it and keep stirring with spoon continuously for half a minute. Stirring is very crucial else the mylk might separate.
  • Sieve, pour it in a cup and serve hot!

In case you want to make tea for some unannounced guests, here’s a way. Soak cashews and almonds saperately. Drain water completely and freeze them in two different airtight containers. So when the guests arive, all you need to do is blend them in equal quantity, sieve and prepare tea!

Other vegan tea options

Some people use just cashew mylk (Here’s a recipe video) or soy mylk for their tea, and that too works fine. There are many options without them too: lemon tea, herbal tea, lemon-grass tea, green tea, tulsi tea, amla tea. You could add different herbs like ginger, mint, tulsi, cinnamon, cardamom and mint.

Cost: NOT a concern

Home-made cashew-almond mylk roughly costs around Rs. 70 per liter for me. The cost obviously varies according to the prices of cashews and almonds purchased. Considering one cup tea consists of half a cup of mylk (around 100ml), a cup of this tea costs Rs. 7. Given the prevalent rates of animal milk tea, and the fact that the cashew-almond tea is a much healthier option containing no cholesterol or contaminants that animal milk has, I believe it is perfectly reasonable and totally worthwhile. Plus, don’t forget the amazing mylk-free vegan tea options mentioned above. They are extremely cost-effective and equally stimulating!