Substitutes for Dairy

Substitutes for Dairy

Lactose intolerance is prevalent in India. I recently came across an article in an Indian newsletter that offered some substitutes for dairy when cooking. Some of the ingredients might not be found in your supermarket but I found all of them in my local Indian specialty grocery store. The suggestions include:

– Replace milk with almond milk or coconut milk. The nutty flavor is a nice addition for baking and sweet foods.

– Use coconut milk, either fresh or canned, in savory recipes. With its delicate sweet flavor it works great in most of the recipes.

– You also have the option of using unsweetened – plain, not flavored soymilk. However, soymilk doesn’t work for oatmeal.

– Extra-firm tofu can be a substitute to paneer while cooking Indian dishes. It may not taste as good initially, but once you develop the taste for it you will like it too. Soft tofu can be whipped into salad dressings instead of using yogurt or sour cream. Add few drops of lime juice to get a sour taste.

– Try using miso in place of a grated cheese to thicken a sauce. It is a bit of experimentation and it is definitely going to be different.

– Tahini paste whisked with a little water makes for a creamy thick sauce and makes for a nice creamy salad dressing.

– Cashew cream too is a great option. Soak some cashews overnight to soften them and blend them with as much water as needed to get the desired consistency.

It is always a good idea to confirm your suspicion of lactose intolerance with a test such as the hydrogen breath test. Lactose intolerance symptoms can be very similar to other gastrointestinal problems and it would be a mistake to deprive yourself of the important nutrients found in dairy without knowing for sure that you are lactose intolerant.