I come from Indonesia, but you might be more accustomed to Thai cuisine, so I use the term Thai curry in the title because the curries are similar. no, really. just a tad sweeter rather than sour.

So, from this "Indian Spicy" vs. "Thai Spicy" , I gather the difference between thai and indian, and I want to enrich it with milk (no, I won't replace coconut milk, but I want to add milk to the coconut milk curry basically) .

how do I do that? or should I add Veloute,Bechamel etc to enrich Thai curry? or is it not favorable (heh) to enrich a coconut-milk based curry with dairy? I can't use ghee (hence won't go to Indian route) because it's too expensive in my country. and I will replace butter with BOS (butter oil substitute), real butter are quite expensive here. any seasoned advice is welcomed. and... I use brown beef stock (roasted beef bone stock), if that matters.

EDIT: I won't use this with rice but congee. yeah, curry congee.

  • What is your goal? You say you want to enrich it, however I don't understand what you mean in this context.
    – GdD
    Feb 12, 2015 at 9:35
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    I want to get the Indian curry deep spicy taste, where as Thai curry has high but fleeting spicy taste, if I'm to understood the difference between them. basically, I want to get the best of the both worlds. Feb 12, 2015 at 10:40
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    Some of the difference between the two might be the spices -- some Indian curries have cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, or cardamom, which I don't believe are common in Thai curries. I think Indian curries tend to be slower cooked relative to the brothier Thai curries.
    – Joe
    Feb 12, 2015 at 10:52
  • hey @Joe . you are right, to be honest I'm still mixing and matching the spices and aromatics too, though maybe I'll skip cinnamon, only clover and star anise for sweet aromatics. the rest are corriander,cumin,candlenuts,fenugreek etc. and the usual alliums, lemongrass and rhizomes. Feb 12, 2015 at 11:11
  • What bout sweetened condensed milk?
    – JWiley
    Feb 12, 2015 at 19:19

3 Answers 3


Growing up, my mom (Italian-American) would make curry using a bechamel-like white sauce plus curry powder. She said it was her mother's recipe, and I can only assume it was attempting to recreate a meal that she had using ingredients and techniques that she knew.

There are is an advantage of using a white sauce over using just cream to enrich the sauce -- the starch will keep the sauce from breaking over higher heat, but it can get a bit too thick and keep the other flavors from really coming through if you make it too thick, and I don't know if the flavors meld the same way as with coconut milk. (it's been years since I've had this dish, and I currently avoid dairy)

I've never tried mixing bechamel to something that already had coconut milk ... but I suspect that it could work. I know that I've made a white sauce using vegetable molks before (almond & soy ... coconut is the wrong consistency on its own, but there's 'coconut milk drink' that might work, or you could try thinning it with water)


Milk is not an ingredient I think of with Indian recipes, nor would it enrich your curry. It isn't very rich, all you will do is water it down. Bechamel is also not part of any indian recipe I've ever seen.

Yogurt is what you are looking for if you don't want to use ghee (and I can't blame you on that one), although you can make your own clarified butter without too much trouble. Yogurt is used widely in indian cuisine and does add a rich quality. I wouldn't add oil or butter substitute, you'll end up with a greasy dish.

Thai and Indian curries differ in flavors because of spices, that deep flavor you are looking for is from the spices more than the base. Indian and Thai both use turmeric, cumin and coriander widely, however Indian curries can use cardamom, black mustard, yellow mustard, fenugreek seeds or leaves, black pepper, asafoetida, nigella seeds, bay, and many more I cannot think of. The combinations used vary widely depending on the region. Try some and see what you think, just remember that the powders should be fried in a bit of oil for a 60 seconds to get their flavors out.

  • I see, I will try to make yogurt. is ghee added or just used to fry the spices? aside from that, does the fat to fry/bloom the spices matter? lard,ghee,veg oil, does it matter? Feb 12, 2015 at 15:46
  • You could use ghee to fry the spices, or any vegetable oil (don't use olive oil, it burns at too low a temperature). Ghee is not required at all, it's personal preference really. I don't ever use it myself. When you add the yogurt add it in stages so it doesn't separate.
    – GdD
    Feb 12, 2015 at 16:45

If you don't remove coconut milk when you add cows milk, you will water the dish down too much. However you can still add the creamy part of the milk if you wish, keep reading if interested.

If you wish to add milky creamy richness I would use marscapone. It will thicken your dish and give you that creaminess without altering the flavor of the recipe like milk cultures can (yogurt, sour cream, etc). a 16 ounce tub costs about $10-16 depending on where you are.

Marscapone is also very easy to make if it's not available at the store or you want to save some moeny. 1 qt heavy cream, gently bring to 180 F in stainless steel sauce pan (it's almost there when the cream starts to get frothy when stired), stir in 3 teaspoons of lemon juice, keep stirring. Cream will start to firm up a little bit.

Put the whole pot in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning you have a wet marscapone. You can use that if desired, or you can drain it by hanging it up in a sterile handkerchief tied together at the 4 corners and hung up, and letting the whey drip away.

Within 24 hours from start to finish, with $3 worth of ingredients you have a $16 tub's worth of marscapone that will add the creaminess you desire without adding more liquid to your dish.

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