There are a few recipes I consider to be ” Plant-based Essentials”; such recipes can play an important role when eliminating egg and dairy products from your diet.
When I started out, I assumed fermenting and ageing a non-dairy product was difficult to achieve, partly because the commercial versions I found in Edinburgh command a hefty price. (For the record, it turned out to be much easier than making a dairy-based cheese, and cheaper too.) Fermented cashew yoghurt is quick and easy to make. Probiotic capsules or probiotic powder are used to ferment the nut puree, adding a richer more complex flavour.
I use cashew yoghurt in any recipe where I previously might have used a dairy-based yoghurt; in dips, spreads and as a base for creamy dressings and sauces.
It means I can maintain some of “traditional” characteristics of a classic recipe, like the creaminess or the texture, and even elements of the taste – that I would otherwise have to sacrifice. We always have some of this in the fridge ready to use.
250g of cashew nuts, pieces are fine and cheaper – soaked overnight
2 probiotic capsules – 2g powder
15ml apple cider vinegar, preferably raw and unpasteurised
Seasalt – season to your taste, I use Maldon or pink himalayan (or add none, but season when you add the yoghurt in another dish)
240ml filtered water
Drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts and put in a high speed blender, add 120ml of filtered water, blend until smooth. Add the contents of 2 probiotic capsules or 2g of probiotic powder. Blend quickly, you don’t want too overheat and kill your bacteria.
Set aside for 8-12 hours or overnight to culture/ferment. I use a Pyrex bowl, covered with a clean tea towel so it can breath. You will be able see the texture change, it will look aerated and spongey, and have a slightly sour fermented smell.
Put your fermented cashew mixture back into your blender and add 120ml of filtered water and 15ml of apple cider vinegar. Add seasalt to taste (if you’re doing so). If you are using your yoghurt to make something else, I would wait to season until you have added it to the next recipe. Blend for a minute, scrape down the sides and repeat until smooth and pourable (like a traditional yoghurt).
Now you have your cashew yoghurt you can use it as is, like a natural unsweetened yoghurt to make dips such as Tzatziki and Hollandaise. Try adding vanilla, spices and a sweeter such as date paste or maple syrup to add it to a dessert or blend with avocado and coriander for a creamy dressing.
Store measure portions of soaked cashew nuts in the freezer, you can store the fermented puree too.