I am cooking biriani for a party and one of the guest is dairy-intolerant. In biriani, marinading the meat with yogurt+spices is an essential step, and I dont have experience with non-dairy yogurt. What non-dairy yogurt will be best for this purpose?

  • Dairy-free yogurt is an oxymoron. At least to this American, there is no such thing. However, a huge percentage of the biryani-eating population is, to some degree, lactose intolerant. Can you ask the guest?
    – Jolenealaska
    Mar 24, 2016 at 18:21
  • For curries, I'll use coconut cream or coconut milk to get the thick, creamy texture ... but as it's not acidic, I don't think it'd have quite the same effect that you'd get from a marinade (to tenderize the meat).
    – Joe
    Mar 24, 2016 at 18:34
  • @Jolenealaska good observation on the biriani-easting population, I asked that specifically, but he is dairy-intolerant.
    – Ron
    Mar 24, 2016 at 19:11
  • @I thought about coconut milk+vinegar, but i think that will bring on a different flavor. Worth a try, though.
    – Ron
    Mar 24, 2016 at 19:15
  • @Jolenealaska is nothing equivalent to Sojade (which is yoghurt enough to be used as a starter for more!) available in the US? May 24, 2016 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


In a marinade it is the enzymes and acids in yoghurt which are the important factor so a non-dairy substitute may not work well.

Probably the best approach would be to use an oil and spice marinade. As biryani is a fairly dry dish the yogurt is probably less essential in contributing to a thick sauce as it might be in other recipes.

Much will also depend on the cut of meat that you are using, yoghurt is especially good at tenderising cuts which can be tough or dry so you might consider using a more tender or fatty cut that usual, for example use chicken thigh instead of breast for moisture and adjust the marinate to suit eg add an acid (lemon juice, vinegar or tomato paste) for tougher cuts and a fat or oil for dryer ones.


A bit late but would semi-sweet wine perhaps work well to simmer to dryness before adding coconut milk? Wine has the flavour and acidity needed to tenderise the meats. I am trying that right now.

  • 1
    Welcome to Seasoned Advice! While an intriguing suggestion, this reads a bit like a speculation instead of a definitive answer - would you perhaps consider an edit with the outcome of your experiment? This would lend credibility to your post. As for all new users, if you haven’t already, taking the tour and browsing through our help center is a good way to familiarize yourself with the way the site works.
    – Stephie
    Apr 8, 2019 at 8:36

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