Homemade almond milk, especially when extracted from the “desi” variety, makes for a delightful alternative to dairy milk with its mild sweetness and delicate nutty flavor. While preparing almond milk is a simple process, it’s an entirely different story when it comes to setting curd. I was not able make a decent batch of almond curd until I discovered this magical ingredient called agar agar or China grass, a vegan alternative to gelatin that’s derived from red algae. Interestingly, as I read more about the ingredient, I realized that agar agar—an exciting new discovery for me, a Delhiite—has been commonly used in the southern part of India for several decades! Agar agar helps to stabilize and thicken the almond milk, yielding soft, mildly tangy, perfectly set curd.
Agar agar is generally available in the forms of sheets, flakes or powder. In this recipe, we’re using the powder version. I use Urban Platter agar agar powder; you can use any brand.
As far as I know, agar agar is a safe ingredient. Click here for more info.
Also check out: 5+ Varieties of Vegan Curd to make at home!
Time taken: 20 minutes + setting time (5-12 hours)
Yields: around 600 ml (4 cups)
1 Indian cup = 150 ml
- 1 cup almonds (soaked in water for 4-5 hours, drained, & rinsed)
- 4 cups water
- 1 level teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 level teaspoon agar agar powder (I use Urban Platter )
- 1-2 tablespoons vegan curd starter or the contents of one vegan yogurt culture capsule
- Blend the almonds with 1 cup of water until smooth and creamy. Add 2 more cups of water and continue blending. Strain the mixture using a fine mesh strainer or porous cotton cloth. If you wish, you can remove the skin from the almonds after soaking. In this case, there is no need to strain the milk.
- In a saucepan, mix the agar agar powder + sugar, if using, with 1 cup of water and keep aside for 5 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously until the powder is fully dissolved. Let it simmer for 1 minute.
- Add the almond milk to the saucepan. Stir well. Switch off the heat when the liquid is warm but not hot—you should be able to dip a finger comfortably. Mix in the vegan curd starter/contents of one vegan yogurt culture capsule and stir.
- Keep aside to set for as long as you would for dairy curd according to the climatic conditions in your region. The setting time would vary from 5-7 hours in summer to 10-12 hours in winter.
- Agar agar is a necessary ingredient for this recipe.
- I use either Urban Platter vegan yogurt culture capsules or one of these homemade vegan curd starters.
- If you find the curd to be gel-like, just blend it for a few seconds for smooth, thick, creamy beaten curd.
- Also check out: 5+ Varieties of Vegan Curd to make at home!