Peanuts lend creaminess to the milk but have a strong flavour, which can be reduced by mixing in rice. Rice also helps to thicken the milk and curd.
Rinse and drain the soaked peanuts and take them in a blender. Blend with 200 ml water (adding a little at a time), until you obtain a smooth paste. Then, add 400 ml water to this peanut paste. Similarly, make rice milk by mixing rice flour with 200 ml water. Boil the peanut milk on low heat. Once it starts to thicken, slowly start adding the rice milk, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Let the milk boil and thicken. Cool down to lukewarm temperature. Set the curd using the vegan starter the first time you make it, and keep some aside as a starter for the next batch.
The starter can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you want a thick set curd, use 800 ml water for making the milk. For slightly runny curd, use 900 ml water.
If you do not have a vegan curd starter, you may use the chilli crowns of 8-12 green chillies. Wash the chillies, remove the crowns, add them to the milk mixture and keep aside in a warm place for 6-8 hours to set. Try making a small amount first, since yoghurt can be a bit unpredictable the first few times. With the chilli tops, you may need to reserve some of the batch and use again with a fresh batch and more chilli tops, until you get a firm set yoghurt, which can be used as a starter for further batches. A starter portion of yoghurt or a starter culture normally gives reliable results.
The setting time depends on the climate and the temperature in the room. In summer, the curd may set in 4-6 hours, while in winter it may take 10-12 hours. Keep an eye on the curd. Once it starts smelling sour, keep in the refrigerator.
This curd keeps for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Makes 1 litre