Curry Without Coconut Milk – All Of The Flavor With None Of The Fuss

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

I love curry. You probably love curry too, if you’re reading this. That doesn’t mean we like the same curry, however. The term “curry” refers to a huge variety of dishes that come from south Asia. These days, it’s not hard to find a curry dish that originates in England, India, Thailand, Japan, or Vietnam. All of these regional variations are quite different, giving you lots of options when it comes to what goes in your curry and how it tastes.

So how can you adapt a curry recipe to be a little easier to make, less sweet, or more to your liking? Here are some specific tips about
what you can substitute in a given recipe while still getting something tasty at the end.

Substitute for Coconut Milk In curry

Curry is a flavorful blend of spices and liquids. The spices and liquids can be pretty much anything you want, as long as you actually like the way your substitutions taste.
Simply swapping coconut milk for regular cow milk works wonderfully, although the flavor and texture of the resulting dish will change somewhat. If you want something richer, use heavy cream. Coconut milk is fairly sweet, so consider adding a bit of sugar (or honey) to your curry to make up for your substitution.
For thicker curry, use plain yogurt as your coconut milk replacement. If you’d like a bit of a sour note in your curry without making it thicker, try mixing yogurt with any other liquid (stock, broth, milk, or water are all safe choices).
In other words, here’s how I would adapt a recipe that called for coconut milk to use regular milk:
1. Prepare curry as directed, substituting milk or heavy cream for coconut milk
2. Shortly after adding milk (and stirring), taste the curry. Add sugar as needed.
3. Finish recipe as directed.
That’s it!

Adjusting Spice

Managing the heat in your curry is a bit of an art, but there are some tricks to it. Basic pepper knowledge will get you quite far here. The first thing you want to know is that you usually don’t need to change the type of peppers you use!
Peppers are very hot when they’re raw and much less hot when they’re cooked. If your curry keeps coming out too spicy, try heating your peppers up in a separate dish before you add them to your spice mixture. You can toast them, roast them, char them, or simply fry them. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll notice that your peppers are a lot less hot.
Next, be mindful of your pepper seeds. The seeds of a pepper are by far the spiciest part. If you want your dish to be spicier, consider adding a few pepper seeds to your spices when you first start to make your curry. Don’t go overboard here — a little goes a long way.
If you don’t like spicy food, make sure you do an extra good job of seeding your pepper and try to remove as much of the core flesh as possible. The parts that attach the core to the pepper’s outer walls are also a fair bit spicier than the pepper parts you want to eat.

Use Other Recipes For Inspiration

Curry is a very, very broad food group. With just a few minutes of searching, you’ll be able to find dozens of different curry recipes. You can find vegetarian curries, chicken curry, curries that use lentil soup as a liquid base, curries that use cream, curries with cinnamon, and even curries with citrus fruit.
If you’re having trouble finding inspiration for your own curries, try looking at some of these recipes. Even if you don’t have time to make them all you’ll learn a lot about what other people use to flavor their curries. This will give you plenty of ideas when it comes to modifying your recipes to suit your palate.

How To Make Curry Without Coconut Milk

If you’re stressing out about finding the right coconut substitute for your curry, don’t worry about it! Curry is a broad food group that can be flavored however you like. Even if you absolutely detest the taste of coconut, there are plenty of curry recipes that don’t use coconut for you to choose from. Should you need to adapt one, simply use any liquid you like as a coconut milk replacement.
This includes heavy cream, broth, stock, yogurt mixed with water or milk, or even melted ice cream. The resulting curry will taste a bit different, of course, but in many cases it will actually taste better!

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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