The Ingredient You Can Use In Place Of Cream In Indian Dishes

Indian cuisine will vary depending on where in the country you go, but in general it is characterized by ingredients like rice, lentils, chiles and warming spices. Many dishes, like this incredible paneer tikka masala, also include cream. Cream is used to thicken up curries and sauces, and gives them a rich texture. Typically, recipes will either call for heavy cream or fresh cream, sometimes called malai, but there's another ingredient you can use that might already be sitting in your refrigerator.

The next time you're making a dish that calls for cream, like butter chicken or saag paneer, reach for some Greek yogurt instead. It will create the same velvety texture as cream, but has fewer calories, less fat, and more protein than cream. You'll want to look for a full-fat yogurt to get the desired creaminess. The brand doesn't matter, just make sure that you grab an unflavored variety so your dal makhani doesn't end up tasting like vanilla. Simply add the same amount of Greek yogurt as you would cream, and continue making the recipe as usual.

Use Greek yogurt for a lighter alternative in Indian dishes

Plenty of delicious Indian dishes require cream in their recipes, and Greek yogurt can be used for almost all of them. You can also use Greek yogurt as a replacement for coconut milk. Coconut milk, which is used in many curries, is thinner than cream, if you do swap it with Greek yogurt you may want to add a few drops of water to reach a similar consistency. 

Greek yogurt can also be added to dishes that are already prepared. If the chana masala you ordered for takeout from your favorite Indian restaurant has a bit too much heat for your liking, add a scoop or two of Greek yogurt to cut down on the spice and add some creamy tang. Most restaurants offer raita, a dip made primarily of yogurt, for this exact reason, so you might as well save a few bucks by using what you already have available.

Indian food may seem complicated to make, but it can be surprisingly simple. With the right recipe, plenty of spices, and a tub of Greek yogurt, you'll be on your way to making a chicken tikka masala that rivals even the best restaurants.