Dairy Free Indian Food

I have a friend, Aaron Christen, who has to cook with dairy free options for his partner. He recently cooked my Chicken Tikka Masala and was kind enough to share how he replaced the various dairy ingredients with non-dairy options.  Thanks, Aaron! 

So I figured I would give you the rest of the details on the substitutions I made on the Tikka Masala, which was amazing! I just used So Delicious brand Coconut Yoghurt for the marinade and a can of Coconut Milk for the cream. 
 
There are generally three different types of coconut cream products (Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream, and Creme de Coconut). Creme de Coconut is delicious, but is sweetened and is usually used in fruity tropical drinks. Coconut Cream is what you actually want for this, but it is generally somewhat more limited on store shelves. We had to use Coconut Milk, which is a bit thinner. The trick to this is that you have to leave it in the fridge for a good little while and let it separate. It’s always best to go with the high fat content ones on this, because that fat is what you want (usually about 140 kCal per serving). If you see any cans at the store with dust on them, this is better because that means that they haven’t been moved or shaken in a while and will probably be somewhat separated already. Once you have let it sit for a few days to a week in the fridge, just open it up an skim off all the fatty goodness from the top and leave the coconut water at the bottom of the can. It will seam quite a bit thicker than Heavy Milk Cream, but it will melt to the correct consistency when you put it in the dish (it should have the consistency of shortening, or ice cream if that paints a better picture). 
 
All in all, a little bit more work, but well worth it. I asked everyone around the table and not one of them could really taste the Coconut in the dish. Coconut Cream also makes a delicious homemade whipped cream. Just add one 15 oz can of Coconut Cream, 2 tsp of Vanilla, 1 Tbsp Corn Starch, and some Powder Sugar to preferred sweetness. Then whip up til its in a whip cream consistency. It’s absolutely delicious!
 
Would love to hear from others who have used non-dairy options or have made other amendments to my dishes – always good to share your ideas!