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soy milk instead of coconut milk in curry? would you do it?

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I read this suggesiton either in Bill Granger or Ainsworth. He said that to reduce the calories, he subbed the former for the latter in his curries. Has anyone actually tried this and with what results? I am curious but skeptical.

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  1. Sounds like a bad idea.. :)

    1. Next time I make chicken curry I'll experiment with a cup of the curry with Yeo Hiap Seng Soy Bean Drink.Sounds horrible just contemplating! :(

      1. Would "soy bean drink" be the same as "soy milk"? That might make a difference.

        1. I've done it before when I didn't have coconut milk. I used soy milk and coconut extract. It was OK, not great, but not horrible.

          As much as I love soymilk, I'd use either Skim Plus milk (the kind with extra skim milk solids added) or fat-free evaporated milk. They're creamier.

          1. To me it sounds just this side of disgusting, but maybe marginally better than using cow's milk with coconut extract as some old US-published cookbooks used to recommend...

            1. You might save a few calories, but lose the nutritional properties in the coconut milk. Plus it sounds like it would result in an inferior product I don't mind soy milk here and there, but not in a curry. Plus, too much soy is not good for you so why start adding it unnecessarily.

              1. If you really want to avoid the fat that badly, there are "lite" coconut milks these days that I've never tried, but have to better than soymilk. Or take a regular can (or batch of freshly made) and let it sit in the fridge overnight so the fattiest part (which rises to the top like dairy cream) solidifies, and remove it (hopefully to freeze for another use.) That should significantly lower the fat content and while it will be "too" thin, at least it'll be coconut, and have more body than the soymilk anyway.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MikeG

                  I use the light coconut milk exclusively, it's fine. Of course, it's still not exactly what I would call low fat. I usually decrease the amount a bit as well, replacing with more of some other called-for liquid (like chicken stock).

                2. Oh, and the I guess freeze-dried or something powdered versions from Thailand are actually quite good for a commercial product, and you could just use as little as you can stand to use diluted in water per instructions. Even if you use an amount I would find unpalatably thin, at least it'd still taste better than soymilk. Keep in mind that any of these subs is going to have a significantly different mouthfeel. Like subbing skim or 1% milk for half and half or light cream in a cream soup recipe.

                  1. Id be inclined to make the curry without the milk rather than subbing soy or dairy milk. You just dont get the same flavor contribution. I would prefer to serve a reduced amount of sauce to lower the calory count. If you are dieting, a tablespoon or two of of coconut based gravy can feel very rich and satisfying.

                    1. And if you like really hot curries, there are Thai curries (from the mountain areas) that don't use coconut at all. But they are searingly hot, even by Thai standards. In English, they're often referred to as as "jungle curry."

                      1. great suggestions. I am not really inclined to try it myself, but was curious since a true "chef" purported to do it himself at home. I do like to reconstitute the dried powder or blocks as they have no preservatives as the canned ones do.

                        1. You can dilute regular coconut milk by 1/2 with water to get lite coconut milk as that's all they do to make lite, soy milk isn't up my alley, but I hope it works out for you.

                          1. A little potassium bisulphate here or there doesn't bother me in the least (it's really not at all harmful in the amounts you ever encounter it), but I think the powdered just tastes better than the canned, too, and is a lot more convenient. Trying to remember all the little odd amounts of leftover c/milk in the freezer gets old, fast! With the powder you can mix up only as much as you need, as well as adjust consistency easily.

                            1. It would drastically change the flavor. I would suggest using light coconut milk if you are trying to save calories and grams of fat.

                              1. I happened to make curry twice last week and did not want to have coconut milk so often in such a short time (even though a little can be good for you, despite what we were taught over the last couple of decades). Anyway-I used Silk Soy yogurt for the second batch of curry. It has a nice thick (but not Greek yogurt thick) consistency--like a fairly dense sauce. Anyway, it was very tasty--and with all the hot, red curry paste I used, I really didn't miss the coconut (although I love that , too!).

                                Good luck