How to add yoghurt to curdling curry

Written by miriam kresh
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How to add yoghurt to curdling curry
Yoghurt adds a smooth, rich taste to traditional lamb curry. (Linda & Colin McKie/iStock/Getty Images)

A traditional flavouring in many Indian dishes, yoghurt adds a pleasant tang to curries. It also thickens the curry's sauce and adds rich texture. But adding yoghurt to hot food can be tricky. If it's shocked by high heat, it will curdle and separate into unpleasant-looking, cheese-like lumps and whey instead of making a smooth, appetising sauce. Once that happens, most cooks give up. But it may be possible to fix the curdled sauce, especially if it's caught before all the yoghurt has been added. Gently warming the yoghurt before adding it to the sauce will prevent curdling problems.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tbsp cold water

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    Fix the curdled sauce

  1. 1

    Remove your curry from the heat.

  2. 2

    Spoon cornstarch into the water and mix until you obtain a paste.

  3. 3

    Stir the cornstarch paste into the curdled sauce. Mix this gently until the paste is well-incorporated.

  4. 4

    Heat the curry again over a low heat, stirring gently until the sauce thickens again. If necessary, make a new cornstarch paste and repeat the process.

    Add yoghurt to curry

  1. 1

    Remove your curry from the heat.

  2. 2

    Mix the yoghurt slightly. Make sure the yoghurt is at room temperature; cold yoghurt is more likely to curdle when meeting the heat of the cooked curry.

  3. 3

    Stir a tablespoon of curry sauce into the yoghurt. This is tempering the yoghurt. Repeat additions of sauce to the yoghurt several times.

  4. 4

    Pour the yoghurt/curry mix into the curry pan and stir gently.

  5. 5

    Return the curry to a low heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tips and warnings

  • To prevent curdling in the first place, lower the heat or remove the pan from the heat for a minute before adding yoghurt.
  • Using full-fat yoghurt will lower the chances of curdling.
  • You may stir yoghurt into the curry immediately before finishing cooking to avoid curdling. However the spicy flavour will be less intense than if all the ingredients have cooked together for at least 10 minutes.

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