Diwali 2023: Best Alt-Milk Options For Making Festive Mithai
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Using non-dairy milk for making Indian sweets, especially for mithai that have a potent dairy base, can be challenging. While nut-based dairy can affect the traditional profile of a peda, sandesh or kalakand, it adds some agreeable elements. The good news is that there are many kinds of alt milk so whether you want the nutty richness of almond milk, the tropical notes of coconut milk, or the versatility of soy, each non-dairy milk brings its unique element to the table. 

For sweets which have khoya or mawa, almond milk is best as it calls for a general nuttiness, whereas for a milk cake, kaju katli or shahi tukda, cashew milk is best since it can add a velvety texture to the sweets. Every non-dairy milks has a different consistency so you will need to adjust the quantity based on your desired texture. 

If you want a muted sweetness that's not too strong and are planning on using minimal sugar, oat milk may be your best bet. However, for a more defined sweetness, coconut milk should be your pick. If you're making dairy-free mithai this Diwali, here's a guide on which alt milk is best for you 

Almond Milk 

It has a distinct nuttiness that works for both old-school and contemporary flavours and adds depth and richness to your mithai. It is also naturally low in calories and works well in recipes that benefit from a slightly sweet and nutty taste. Consider using it in dishes like kheer, khajur mithai or almond barfi.

Coconut Milk 

Coconut milk brings a tropical and rich coconut flavour to your sweets, making it ideal for fusion mithai that incorporates modern ingredients. It is one of the thickest plant-based milks and is rich in healthy fats and it also offers a distinct coconut aroma and taste. Besides coconut-based sweets like coconut laddoo, you can mix them in with some other milk when you want a hint of summery goodness, for airier sweets like a halwa or til laddoo. 

Soy Milk 

Soy milk has a neutral taste, making it a versatile choice that won't overpower the flavours of your sweets. It's a skinny milk so it works well for recipes that need extra whipping or constant stirring; it has a neutral taste. If you're making a flavoured kheer and want the flavour to shine through, consider substituting dairy milk for soy milk. Start by replacing the dairy milk with an equal amount of soy milk, and adjust the sugar accordingly 

Cashew Milk 

Cashew milk is lower in calories compared to cow's milk and provides healthy monounsaturated fats. It's ideal for barfis or katlis even if they don't feature nuts because cashew milk can offer a consistent, well-rounded fudge-y texture especially if mixed with some cashew or coconut cream. Almond milk and cashew milk are quite similar in flavour. Unsweetened cashew milk has a slightly better mouthfeel than almond milk and also a more consistent sweetness 

Oat Milk 

Oat milk or rice milk is best for sweets that don't have a flavour and depend on the milk and sugar base. oat milk especially can work really well for kheer or phirni since it has an easy consistency. If you're using store-bought oat milk go for unsweetened varieties and add sugar as per your taste