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6 ways with a can of coconut milk
February 14, 2018, 4:34 pm

If the closest you have come to a can of coconut milk is a takeout container of Thai chicken curry, you are missing out a wholesome flavor and richness. Coconut milk is responsible for a wealth of flavorful dishes that range from sweet, rich ice-creams to spicy dips and soothing soups.

But what exactly is it? Not to be confused with coconut water, which comes from the center of young green coconuts, coconut milk is made from grated and pressed coconut. And, thanks to a high fat content, it has a rich, mildly sweet flavor and creamy texture that is remarkably similar to dairy milks.

Sometimes, if the canned coconut milk does not contain stabilizers, the milk will separate into two layers: a thin watery milk topped with dense cream. Some recipes call for using just the cream, while in other cases, you can simply stir and shake the contents of the can until they are evenly combined.

So now that you have an idea of what coconut milk is, here is what you can do with it.

Use it as a dairy substitute: Coconut milk can be used as a lactose-free, vegan milk substitute in countless capacities: stir it into your coffee, whip it into cream, add it to baked goods, or make it into a yogurt. And if your diet excludes dairy, you may just be surprised by how smooth and creamy dairy-free ice cream can get, whether it is salted peanut butter, mint chip, or simple classics like chocolate and vanilla.

Make dips and sauces: Coconut milk on its own might make a pretty unmemorable dip, but add in some sweeteners or savory spices and it is a whole different story. One way is to simmer it with red curry paste until thickened and then liven it up with lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, honey, and fish sauce in a dipping sauce for dumplings. Or change tacks entirely and boil it up with sweetened condensed milk, butter, and a pinch of salt for a sticky-sweet sauce perfect for drizzling all over grilled pineapple, or pretty much any dessert you please.

Drinks with coconut milk: If you are left with just a little bit of leftover coconut milk and forever stumped on what to do with it, stirring or blending it into a drink is always a great idea. It gives breakfast smoothies more body and richness, while the extra fat keeps you full. You can even swap it with regular milk when making any kind of milkshake.

Pair it with seafood: Seafood loves all things coconut milk — the kind that spans ceviches and curries, noodles and stir-fries. Combine it with curry paste and use it to steam some Thai-style mussels, sauce up some rice noodles and shrimp, dress a quinoa-seafood salad, or complete a bowl of DIY instant noodles.

Not a fan of curry paste? Try coconut milk as a poaching liquid for some fish simmered in coconut milk with lemongrass, lime, cilantro, and fish sauce. It also makes a great base for a coconut clam stew seasoned with ginger and turmeric, or an Indian-style shrimp soup.



















And yes, curries: The concept of curry speaks spicy-sweet, thick, creamy, slightly nutty sauce that coats everything from chickpeas and cashews to chicken and potatoes.

Rich Desserts: Coconut is a great dairy substitute. It can be used to prepare layered puddings, coconut custard pie, and saucy coconut- enhanced islas flotantes (also known as floating island, a dessert of French origin, consisting of meringue floating on crème anglaise). In Thailand, a sweet coconut milk custard called sangkhaya is used as a dip for white bread.


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