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How can I make a thick and creamy vegan curd or yogurt at home?

Here in South India the temperature is very suitable for fast fermentation, but I am not sure which ingredients or fermenting agents to use.

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After numerous failed experiments I came across this YouTube video in which chef Nupur Sampat makes impressively creamy curd from peanuts, with no thickeners, sweeteners, expensive probiotics or complicated steps. It looked too good to be true, but I tried it in my kitchen and it worked perfectly first time.

Since I don't like the taste of raw peanuts, I roasted some peanuts and tried it with those too. That also worked great. I was able to use the curd every way, even with plain rice and pickle or with oats and a little date syrup. I will try this method with other milks and update this post, and I'll try to add pictures too.

I've tried with raw almonds and the result was very delicious, but did not set much.

Ingredients:

  • 100g peanuts (it still works if you use less; curd will be thinner)
  • 500ml filtered water
  • 4 green chillies (don't panic)

Equipment:

  • Blender
  • Tea strainer, small fine sieve, or cheesecloth
  • Saucepan or milk pot

How to make:

  1. This step is optional. Dry roast the peanuts until golden in a heavy pan or oven
  2. Soak the peanuts for 4-8 hours in filtered water
  3. Grind the peanuts in a blender with about 300ml water
  4. Strain the peanut milk into a saucepan, pressing to extract as much as possible
  5. Put the fibre back into the blender with the remaining water and blend again
  6. Strain this into the pan too
  7. Boil the peanut milk and remove the skin. Transfer to a ceramic container suitable for fermenting the curd
  8. While it cools down, wash the chillies and then carefully pull off the crowns, keeping them intact. Do not cut the chilli, as the microorganisms we need are under the stem. You can keep the chillies themselves and use.
  9. When the milk has cooled to body temperature (bowl should feel only a little warm), add the chilli tops and stir around a bit. Cover with a cloth or loose lid and leave for 8-12 hours
  10. Discard the chilli crowns and transfer curd to the fridge. If it has not set, but there is setting around the chilli crowns, it has actually worked and it will set in the fridge in a few more hours.

For future batches, you may use your old curd as a fermenting agent.

Thanks Nupur, for the awesome recipe!

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