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Yogurt sauce breaks

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I was following a recipe for Shahi Murgh (Royal Chicken cooked in yogurt) and just after I added the yogurt mixture and brought it back up to a simmer, the sauce broke.:cry: What might I have done wrong? I did use low-fat yogurt instead of full fat. Was that the problem?
Emily

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Emily

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post #2 of 5
Low-fat yogurt was indeed the culprit. Monica Bhide, who has written two Indian cookbooks (and is a great home cook!) says it is best to use whole-milk yogurt. And, of course, the gentlest of heat.

But I usually only have nonfat or low-fat yogurt in the house, so I blend in a little cornstarch, temper the yogurt-cornstarch mixture with some of the hot sauce, and then stir that all back into the pot. That works, too, if you don't mind that you've added a little starch.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thank you Suzanne! And thanks for the cornstarch and tempering tip.
Probably a stupid question, but what does the cornstarch do to help hold the sauce together? Does it help bind some of the molecules (fat, protein?)? Just curious.
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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post #4 of 5
The sauce breaks because the protiens in the yogurt curdle. A low fat yogurt has a higher protien ratio so is more prone to curdle.

In simple terms, the corn starch works the same as the flour when you make a bechamel. You can still break it with overcooking.

My experience with indian food even in restaurants is that it's rarely an even emulsion. Usually some fat is streaked through the liquid and so on.

Phil
post #5 of 5

yoghurt

believe it or not as long as you always stir the yoghurt the same way ie clockwise once you've added to the sauce it will not break down. the problem with stiring in all directions is that you structually breakdoen the matrix the youghurt form when it sets. When you stir it the same way you simply unfold the matrix and it will not split
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