Yogurt Vs. Cream in Curry - Taste and Syn values

Yogurt Vs. Cream in Curry - Taste and Syn values

Karma Korma Curry made with yoghurt.

So I was half way through knocking up this Korma when I realised I didn't have any cream.

With rice on the hob, I wasn’t in the mood to make a special trip to the shop. The only curry ingredient worthy of a mid-cook shop rush imo is coriander and we were good for that.

Looked in the fridge and we had greek yogurt. Boom’s curry kits advise cream or yoghurt for the Korma, so I thought I'd pay special attention to the taste and calorific impact of using yoghurt over my go to cream  

So what's best in a curry, cream or yoghurt?

Firstly it depends on the curry...

For a Tikka Masala I'd say you need yoghurt. You need yoghurt for the marinade anyway so it seems a shame to open something else. There's also the whole sweet and sour vibe going on with a tikka. You've got the sweetness from the coconut and tomatoes and the sourness from the mango in our spice mix. The yoghurt seems to hold it all together nicely without making it too sickly rich. It is a delicate balance though. Full fat yoghurt would be my choice as some of the low fat or light yoghurts can leave a bit of a tangy after taste that I'm not too keen on.

When it comes to the Korma though, I can't even say the word Korma without picturing mellow spices synchronised swimming in a creamy sauce. I normally go for single or double cream. 

On this occasion, out of cream, I went for greek yoghurt which was not bad. Pretty tasty in fact, but I still wish I had cream. 

I think you can just about get away with a full-fat natural or greek yoghurt in a Korma. There are obvious calorie or syn benefits by choosing yoghurt. Namely, for the slimming world syn counters, choosing yoghurt over cream frees up syns for a beer with your curry.

So let it be known that I'm in the cream over yoghurt korma camp. But also the beer with your curry over no beer camp. My advice for the syn counters is to choose yoghurt and beer.

Make it a good quality full fat yoghurt, and a good beer. Personally I'd pair Yeo Valley (power to the West Country!) natural yoghurt - 1 syn per Korma portion with Duration Brewery’s ‘Sweeping Coast West Coast Pale’ 4.8% 8 Syns per 440ml can.

Syn Values Cream and Yoghurt

How many syns are there in cream? As a rule of thumb it's 2 syns per level tablespoon. Double cream can have up to 3.5 syns and single around 1.5 syns per tablespoon.

How Many Syns in a Boom Kitchen Karma Korma

Follow the serves 2 recipe with cream, sugar and the coconut Boom provide for 12.75 syns per serving.
  • 100ml cream  (12 syns)
  • tbsp of sugar (3 syns)
  • 35grams of coconut provided in the kit (10.5 syns)

Total per kit 2-3 (serves 2-3) is 25.5 syns or 12.75 syns per serving.  

Substitute cream with yoghurt, still using a tbsp of sugar, and Boom coconut for  7.5 syns portion.

  • 100ml yoghurt  (1.5 syns)
  • tbsp of sugar (3 syns)
  • 35grams of coconut provided in the kit (10.5 syns)

Total per kit 2-3 (serves 2-3) is 15 syns or 7.5 syns per serving.  

Here's a really useful list of Syns in all yoghurt and cream products I found at Donna's Slimming World.


Ingredient No of tbsps (level spoons) Syn Value tbsp Syns 100ml/grams

Syns Per Boom Serving (Karma Korma)

Natural Yoghurt - low fat
5 tbsp 0.5 1


Greek Yoghurt - low fat  5 tbsp 0.5 1


Natural Yogurt - full fat   4 tbsp 0.5 1.5 0.75
Aerosol Cream - regular 2 tbsp 0.5 2 1
Aerosol Cream - reduced fat/light 3 tbsp 0.5


Goats' Milk Yogurt - natural 2 tbsp 0.5 2 1
Pouring Yogurt 1.5 tbsp
0.75 3
Greek Yoghurt - full fat 1 tbsp 0.75 3.5 1.75
Soured Cream - reduced fat 1 tbsp 1 6 3
Single Cream - reduced fat 1 tbsp 1 7 3.5
Creme Fraiche - reduced fat /half fat/light 1 tbsp 1 8 4
Dairy Free Cream Alternative 1 tbsp 1 8 4
Soured Cream - regular 1 tbsp 1.5 9.5 4.25
Single Cream - regular 1 tbsp 1.5 9.5 4.25
Creme Fraiche - regular 1 tbsp 2.5 17.5


Whipping Cream 1 tbsp 3 18.5 9.25
Double Cream  1 tbsp 3.5 23 11.5
Clotted Cream 1 tbsp 4.5 29.5 14.75


Bonus syn values in popular beers


BrewDog Punk IPA 5.6% – 8 Syns
Brewdog Nanny State Alcohol Free Pale Ale 0.5% – 1.5 Syns
BrewDog Dead Pony Club Pale Ale 3.8%  – 6 SynsCorona Light 330ml bottle – 4 Syns
Corona  – 7 Syns
Peroni  – 6 Syns
Budweiser  – 7.5 Syns
San Miguel  – 8 Syns
Sol – 7.5 Syns
Tiger  – 5.5 Syns
Heineken – 7 Syns
Stella Artois – 7 Syns
Cobra beer Zero – 4 Syns
Bass beer Shandy bass – 3.5 Syns

Forgive us our syns!

One final note, I can't finish this post without mentioning condensed milk. I've had some customers come up to me and say they love it! Not tried it myself but my stepfather swears by it on his sticky toffee pudding - it's nice and sweet so can imagine that working well with our Karma Korma. Worth adding a few tins to your nuclear bunker pantry.

Cheers Jim.