It’s easy to find good-quality vegan yoghurt these days, even at mainstream supermarkets. Coconut yoghurt is my favourite – it’s creamy, subtly sweet, and utterly delicious. Even tastier than normal Greek yoghurt in my opinion.
The bad news is, these precious tubs of vegan goodness are pricey! At $7 or more for a small, 400g-500g tub, it feels like a luxury item for occasional indulgence, rather than for everyday consumption. And most of them aren’t even organic.
But here is good news for you: you can make your own 700g tub of coconut yoghurt – organic, too – for just about $1.5. Yes that’s right. It took me a few trial and errors to get the right result, but I think I finally figured it out. Hooray! Interested? Let’s get started then.
Here’s what you need:
(1) 2 heaping cups (110g) of organic coconut flakes. I buy it in bulk here. Desiccated would work as well. It may seem like a lot of coconut, but when you do the math, it’s only about $1.5 for organic coconut, if you buy it in bulk.
(2) 3 cups (750ml) of boiling water;
(3) 2 giant tablespoons of arrowroot powder / tapioca flour (40g). You can also use cornstarch probably, but I haven’t tried it yet.
(4) 1 tablespoon of white sugar (I’ve used caster sugar, and artificial sweetener like Natvia, and both work fine). I wouldn’t use brown sugar or any sugar with colour in it – because it just makes the whole yoghurt brownish and not visually appealing.
(5) A tiny tiny bit of probiotic culture. I got this “nondairy” yoghurt culture here. Or you can use about 2 tablespoons of any yoghurt with active culture in it (save some of those pricey vegan yoghurt for this project – you can freeze it, too, until you decide to make your own yoghurt).
Equipments: You also need a blender, a nut milk bag (or a strainer and some cheesecloth or tea towel), and a clean jar or container.
That’s it! First, we make coconut milk. If you want to use canned coconut milk, that’s fine. Just skip the first part of the recipe below.
MAKE COCONUT MILK
Step One: Put the kettle on and boil some water (you’ll need 3 cups).
Step Two: Measure 2 heaping cups of coconut into a blender jug (here I’m using the largest jug for my Nutri Ninja blender).
Step Three: Add 3 cups of boiling water to the coconut flakes.
Sep Four: Blend it up for a good minute or so in your blender. Be careful, it’s hot!
Step Five: Pour the hot mixture into another clean jug or bowl, lined with a nut milk bag (or a sieve lined with tea towel or cloth). Let it cool for a bit.
Step Six: When the mixture is cool enough to handle, squeeze all the milk out of the coconut mix as much as possible. Now you have about 3 cups of warm, fresh, creamy coconut milk.
You can use the pulp for something else – like a pie base, or muffins or cakes or muesli).
It’s best to make the yoghurt straight away now while the milk is still warm.
MAKE COCONUT YOGHURT
Step One: Pour about a cup of the milk into a small bowl, and whisk in the arrowroot powder and sugar. Make sure there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth. Whisk that into the rest of the coconut milk.
Step Two: Pour the whole milk mixture into a saucepan, and bring it to the boil, whisking it continuously to avoid lumps. Once it boils, the mixture should thicken considerably. Keep whisking for a few more seconds for a good measure, then turn off the heat. Can you see the gooey consistency in the photo, like very thick custard?
Step Three: Pour the hot mixture into a clean jar. Then wait till it cools down to about 40-45 degrees celcius- like a warm bath water.
Step Three: Once it’s cool enough, whisk in yoghurt or yoghurt culture and mix well.
Step Four: Put the jar in a yoghurt maker (I use the yoghurt function in an Instant Pot), or if you don’t have one, wrap the jar in an electric blanket, or place in an insulated container like an Esky with warm water in it) and keep it warm and still for 6-8 hours.
After 6-8 hours, your coconut yoghurt should be ready. Chill in the fridge and enjoy!
My kids love it so much they devour it while it’s still warm. The texture firms up more in the fridge though – and become more yoghurt-like, rather than like a wobbly sauce. Either way it’s super yummy. I love having it with homemade muesli and fresh fruit.
Actually, you might want to double the recipe – it does take a bit of work to make it, and you’ll be sad to see it gone in one or two mornings – which is the case in my household.
PS: I have used agar agar in the past as a thickener, but it didn’t work very well – the consistency was too solid, like hard-set jello that you can cut with a knife. The trick in my recipe is using enough arrowroot starch. Don’t skimp on it, otherwise you’ll end up with runny, drippy and stretchy yoghurt that is not very appetising…