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Also known as
Nariyal ka doodh, kghati
Description Coconut milk is derived from the creaming of the flesh of the brown coconut and not the tender green ones. Unlike coconut water which is found when the shell is cracked open, coconut milk follows a process of grating before the meat is squeezed to release fresh, thick coconut milk. After this add a little bit of hot water and repeat the step of squeezing the milk out. 3 rounds of this should provide you with coconut milk of varying thickness. When making coastal stews, soups and curries, first use the thinner coconut milk before rounding it off with the thickest batch of coconut milk. This ensures that the coconut milk does not split.
How to select
• There are canned, tetra packs and powdered forms of coconut milk available.
• While in cases of emergency use, over-the-counter formats of coconut milk might be purchased, it is advisable to make it the old fashioned way, yielding freshly pressed coconut milk which is fragrant, naturally sweet and full of flavour, unlike the commercial varieties.
• Coconut milk is the base of most coastal curries both locally and internationally.
• Coconut milk is often a staple fat source for those following a Paleo diet.
• Sauces and toppings for desserts in places like Thailand and Kerala are often made from coconut milk.
• Substitute coconut cream by mixing 1 cup coconut milk powder in 2 cups of warm water.
• Coconut milk and cream can curdle. If heated too much the oil will separate out.
• A bit of cornstarch helps prevent curdling.
How to store
• Coconut milk should be refrigerated once the can is opened.
• It keeps for a couple of days to a week.
• Freezing coconut milk increases the likelihood of curdling when it is next used in cooking -
• Freeze only if you are just warming the milk through without boiling.
• Be careful not to buy sweetened coconut milk for Thai cooking, unless of course you're using it to make Thai or India desserts.
• Coconut milk is rich in protein and fosters normal brain and bone development.
• It’s high in saturated fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are both easily burned as fuel by the body.
• The principle fatty acid in coconut milk is lauric acid, which is the same fat found in abundance in mother's milk.
• As with all things high in fat, it is advised to consume coconut cream in limited quantities.