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.
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.
How to make:
For future batches, you may use your old curd as a fermenting agent.
Thanks Nupur, for the awesome recipe!
I know this is an old question, but after having come up with an easy method and used it for almost 2 years for hundreds of liters of yogurt, I wanted to share.
Once you've started, you need only one ingredient, soy milk. For the whole process, you only need 1 additional ingredient, vegan yogurt starter. I use an Instant Pot brand pressure cooker to sterilize and ferment. Any pressure cooker with a yogurt function would work. In warmer climates, you could probably get away with leaving it on the counter.
Getting the right soy milk is the key to the whole procedure. Once you have access to that, it's a piece of cake. I'm lucky, because it's available within walking distance of my apartment. You want something that:
I used Cultures for Health brand starter culture (obviously I have no affiliation). I'm sure there are other brands that will work just fine. The package came with 4 sachets. After 2 years, I've only used one (see below). For the first time, you can suspend the culture in a small amount of soy milk and distribute it evenly between jars. I used one packet for 950mL (32oz) the first time.
I use wide mouth mason jars to ferment my yogurt. I place them in the Instant Pot, along with the lids and a large spoon, and pressure cook them with a small amount of water in the bottom for 5 minutes. This ensures there are no other bacteria in the containers.
The result is very thick yogurt. After a few days, a bit of clear liquid will separate from the "curd" that can be poured off to further thicken the yogurt. The cost of the soy milk + electricity is about the same as cow milk yogurt (although cow milk is highly subsidized in the US).
I typically make 4 jars. When 3 have been opened, I use the first bit of the 4th unopened jar to inoculate the next batch. This decreases the risk of contamination.
I use it to make all sorts of recipes that include yogurt including tzatziki and south Indian curd rice. It also makes a great parfait with a bit of maple syrup and fresh fruit. My mother-in-law is from the south of India, and she approves.
I am now making curd from a mixture of cashews and almonds. My current curd has been going strong for about a year now using the previous batch to innoculate the new one. I used OneGood peanut curd to start it off, but previously I was using broken wheat with better results than chillies - I describe the process below: