Yogurt in curry's

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by japes, Jan 31, 2005.

  1. japes

    japes

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    :( I have always loved Indian curry's, and make them regularly.

    Usually they turn out pretty good, BUT
    whenever I use yogurt it all falls apart. The yogurt always curdles, it doesn't seem to affect the taste but the sauce looks terrible. It has tiny white bits in it from where the yogurt hasn't mixed in with the other liquids.
    I have tried different brands of yogurt, but the store near me is now only carrying Dannon full fat and fat free. I do follow the recipes as closely as possible, but the result is always the same.

    Please can someone give me some tips, and explain what I doing wrong.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It's not a failure to mix, rather it's protien curdling. Coconut milk seems to be much lower protien and works fine.

    Phil
     
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Japes, maybe you're letting the heat get too high? I wonder if it would do better being mixed in at the end. I know about what's happening, and I'd also appreciate some ideas. Greek style yogurt, which is very much richer than, say, Dannon full-fat yogurt, might also help. You can get this at a Greek (or other middle eastern) market, or try making your own. (By the way, this is DYNAMITE with honey drizzled over!)
     
  4. suzanne

    suzanne

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    An Indian friend who is a food writer here in the U.S. has an article coming out sometime soon in Cooking Light magazine about cooking with yogurt. This is some of what she has to say: For any more of the article, you'll have to look for the magazine. ;)

    But Phil is right: it's the protein (casein) in the yogurt cooking all by itself. While coconut milk will not react to heat the same way, it will give a completely different flavor, sweet rather than tart. And a properly made dish with coconut milk should be cooked until the fat in the milk separates out, which might not be quite the look you want, either. So try my friend Monica's advice and see if it works any better.
     
  5. japes

    japes

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    Thanks for all the advise.
    Mezzaluna, you are spot on with the Greek yogurt. Excellent stuff.
    Guess I'll try adding it slower and on a lower setting.

    I do like the coconut milk base, but the yogurt has now become a challenge to get right!!

    Thanks again.
     
  6. japes

    japes

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    Suzanne,

    Can you ask your friend if they know when that may come out?
    Think I'll check it out.
     
  7. suzanne

    suzanne

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    She rarely finds out when a piece will actually be published, once she turns it in. Bummer for her, and for us when we want to know when to buy the magazine. :p But Cooking Light is pretty easy to find, so you could flip through it whenever it comes out.

    And I agree Total-ly ;) about the Greek yogurt. My husband prefers nonfat yogurt, and theirs is wonderful!! (Oops, now it's called Fage, not Total anymore. :blush: )
     
  8. chefpeter

    chefpeter

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    hi

    quite surprised at some of the rubbish solutions and advice offered. The reason yoghurt splits or curdles in a cooked dish is due to molecular disruption; this occurs when you stir the curry in different directions once the yoghurt is added (breaking the protein bonds which hold the yoghurt together as a mass). Simple solution, add the yoghurt and always stir in the same direction; ie clockwise or anti clockwise.

    A cheat is to add some cornflour to the yoghurt to stabalise it and then add this to the curry :chef:
     
  9. pinot

    pinot

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    I find goats milk yoghurt holds alot better in anything hot. But mostly I serve the yoghurt on the side in curries
     
  10. scott123

    scott123

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    Japes, listen to Monica, she knows what she's talking about :) (As does Suzanne ;) )

    I use sour cream. The higher fat content helps to prevent curdling.
     
  11. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    I've been doing a lot of recipe development recently for low-fat diets and the like and recently came across this same curdling problem when cooking with low-fat milk, yogurt, sour cream, soymilk and nut-milk products. Of course, I turned to Cookwise by Shirley Corriher, my tried and true resource for all food science related recipe problems. She suggests stirring a little starch of some kind (flour, cornstarch, arrowroot, etc.) into the liquid before adding it to the recipe. BINGO! Works every time with every type of milk product I used.
    You don't need much-about a tablespoon to 2 cups of liquid.
    It worked great-especially in a low-fat, non dairy scalloped potatoes recipe. I used low-fat almond milk and a little flour. They came out creamy and as delicious as if I had used heavy cream. The subtle almond flavor from the nut milk added a nice, warm undertone to the flavor of the dish, too.
     
  12. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I almost always allow my yogurt to hang overnight, to release excess moisture when making curries and then I add the yogurt at the end, over low heat, and have never had a problem with it curdling.
     
  13. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    You have a published source for that theory? That's most "surprising rubbish solution and advice" I've heard.

    Now, your other bit about the cheat method was pretty sound.

    Phil
     
  14. japes

    japes

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    Thanks for ideas, even if some sound a little strange.
    Gues I will try hanging the yogurt for a while and add some cornflour, I'll let eveyone know how it works.

    Chefpeter. That sounds like a crazy theory. It doesn't make a difference if its clockwise or anti, but should I stand on my head?
    Your name suggests your a professional chef, maybe you could tell me where your experience comes from to back it up I little. :chef:
     
  15. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    While hanging the yogurt to remove some of the whey will problably result in a creamier curry sauce and less curdling, the result is that you are increasing the fat content significantly by doing so. The liquid whey contains most of the protien and very little fat. By removing it, you concentrate the milk solids and fats in the yogurt. Why go to all that time trouble when you can get the same result by using whole milk yougurt, sourcream or just a little flour?
    In my research and testing, flour resulted in the best consistency and flavor. Cornstarch (or cornflour as the brits call it) was a little chalky and bland and needed additional cooking time, then seized into shlumpy consistency as it cooled a little. OK, but flour and arrowroot were my favorite.


    Just a note to Chefpeter-
    Your response seems rather harsh and judgemental of the experienced people here for a first post. Why not introduce yourself first in the Welcome Forum let us all get to know you a bit before trashing legitimate suggestions with your own, rather dubious, theories.
    Stirring in the same direction, indeed. What pile.
     
  16. japes

    japes

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    Thanks foodnfoto. I'll give the flour a go first then. As for the yogurt I guess I'll use up the full-fat I have, but next time I'll look for whole milk yogurt. (I thought full-fat was made from whole milk).
    "her-in-doors" says I need to gain weight so I'll still hang it up.
    Doesn't sour-cream change the taste of the curry?
    How much flour do you suggest for a cup of yogurt?

    JP
     
  17. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    You'll probably only need 2 teaspoons or so.
     
  18. iskenderuna

    iskenderuna

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    I actually made a curry with yoghurt 2 days ago and used for the greek yoghurt (10% fat content) - as opposed to full cream yoghurt (which has about 3.6%)for the first time. I think what has generally been written here sums everything up. The important factors are:
    1. Use med. heat, add and
    2. stir in little by little (this is clearly stated in many of my indian recipes that call for adding yoghurt).
    3. Dont use anything less than 3%. If using the greek type (10%) use a little less than is called for in the recipe as the stuff is pretty concentrated - but the result is really superb.
    I am not sure where the readers are situated, but here in Germany our sour cream also has various fat levels. The thinner variation has 10% and will also curdle when added at cooking stage. Here we mostly use that type for cold dishes. The next fat level is 20%, which basically resembles creme fraiche and is perfect for cooking. The fat content of creme fraiche is at about 32%.
    So much for some German yoghurt and cream fat-levels statistics!
     
  19. chefpeter

    chefpeter

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    Some of you have suggested that my solution to only stir the curry or yoghurt one way as being foolish. Clearly those who suggest this have not tried the method; ask any arab or asian cook of any repute and they will tell you the same.
     
  20. chefpeter

    chefpeter

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    but have you tried it