There’s a lot of hype in health food circles these days about the huge benefits of probiotic foods. Essentially they’re the good guys of the germ world that live in our gut where they support optimum digestive health and help the immune system. Yoghurt is one of the most obvious and common sources but if you don’t do dairy you’re a bit fucked on that front. But hold up, here’s an alterantive that’ll give you the probiotic benefits and is so easy it may well be the ultimate lazy bastard’s recipe.
There are shitload of recipes for coconut yoghurt out there, I’ve tried a few different versions but this is the one I’ve found works best for me and it’s ridiculously fucking simple. Seriously, if you can muster the energy put shit in a jar and shake it, you’re all over this one. The only other requirement is a bit of patience, as it needs to hang around for about 2-3 days doing its fermenting thing. I have to admit that part bit weirded me out a bit at first, I had some serious misgivings about intentionally eating something that had been lurking around in a warm place growing bacteria for three days, shit that’s not right is it? But hey, trust me – get the fuck over it and you’ll be in for a proper treat.
The result is creamy, but still light and tangy yoghurt that’s totally diary and crap free. If you’re a Greek yoghurt lover you should be aware that it will differ in its consistency; coconut yoghurt just won’t thicken like that but, if thick is your thing, then there’s an easy solution. Some recipes will advise the use of tapioca, arrowroot or gelatin but personally I like to add as little as possible, also I’m really too fucking lazy to piss around with that stuff – that’s where chia seeds come into it.
If you haven’t made chia seeds part of your culinary kitset yet you need to rectify that pronto. I’m not going to go on a chia cheerleading rant right now but these guys are the business. Not only do they pack an almighty nutritional punch delivering shitloads of essential fibre, protein and omega 3, they’re also amazingly absorbent and gelatinous which makes them a perfect to use as thickening agent like I’ve done here.
Get this stuff
1 can of coconut cream
I only every buy Ayam because it’s the only one that’s pure coconut, the rest all have thickeners, additives, water and other bullshit in them. If I want to thin it I add my own water, why the fuck would I pay for that? Do a bit of label reading, just because it says organic on the can doesn’t mean it hasn’t been messed with.
4 probiotic capsules
I use Inner Health Plus for no particular reason other than that’s what was at the pharmacy. 4 capsules provides 50 billion each of Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium Lactis so if you’re using a different brand you might just want to make sure you use enough capsules to add up to about the same amount.
1T Chia seeds or bran
1/2t vanilla paste
Stevia or rice malt syrup to sweeten
Do this with it
Put the coconut cream in a glass jar and empty the probiotic capsules in. If you’re adding a sweeter and vanilla you can include that now as well. Rice malt syrup is a good option here as the sugar will actually feed the bacteria and help them grow. I like my yoghurt on the tart and tangy side so I just go plain Jane on this one.
Give it a stir to start with then put the lid on, shake the bejeezus out of it, and that’s pretty much the hard work done. Now all those billions of bacteria like a nice warm place to incubate and do their probiotic thing for 2-3 days. I keep mine in the oven with just the light on but for fuck’s sake remember to take it out when you cook dinner. Aside from the fact that heating a glass jar in the oven is highly unadvisable, cooked yoghurt doesn’t sound very appetising either. If you’ve got a nice warm sunny window sill that’ll do the job as well. You can either leave the lid on or just cover it with a tea towel to allow a bit more air circulation, I’ve done both and it doesn’t seem to affect the result. All you need to do now is give it a shake once or twice a day and sit back and wait. It’ll get tangier the longer you leave it so feel free to give it a sniff and taste test as you go along – I find three days is optimum for my taste.
Once it’s reached the right level of maturity chuck it in the fridge where it will set a bit as it cools then it’s ready to eat as is. But, if you’re after a thicker, more dollopy version this is where chia comes in. I like to use whole seeds which adds a nice bit of texture as well, alternatively you can use chia bran that’s pre-blitzed into a powder and will give you a smoother end product. Your yoghurt, your call. Either way, throw it in, mix thoroughly and leave it for at least an hour to do the thickening thing.
And there you have it, one jar of tasty, tangy dairy free coconut yoghurt full of probiotic goodness. They say it should keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks but to be honest mine’s never hung about that long.