Coconut Milk Recipes
If you buy a fresh coconut, tap a hole into it and pour out the liquid inside, you will not get coconut milk. That liquid is coconut water. Not everyone likes coconut water, but those who do, enjoy it as a refreshing cold drink. Coconut water can be used to make homemade electrolyte drinks.
Coconut milk takes a lot more steps to make because coconut flesh has to be processed by wringing it out to get the liquid. Doing that will produce coconut cream, which is very thick. When the coconut flesh is first soaked in water and then wrung out, coconut milk is the result. Clearly, processing fresh coconut to get cream or milk is a whole lot of trouble. You’ll be much happier buying coconut milk in cans or cartons.
Recipes calling for coconut milk have multiplied in recent years. It has long been used in South American and Asian cooking, and has now become a staple in many kitchens in the U.S. as well.
When you read the ingredients in coconut milk, you will be alarmed by the amount of fat it contains—until I tell you that coconut fat is saturated fat, and is mostly lauric acid, which is also found in human mother’s milk. Lauric acid promotes brain and muscle development. Coconut milk is very nutritious—it contains high levels of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, and significant amounts of vitamins C and E.
I like to think of coconut milk as a great alternative for soup recipes that call for heavy cream. When I find a soup recipe that calls for heavy cream, I spend a little time looking for a recipe that replaces the heavy cream for coconut milk or another non-dairy milk substitute. An example that comes to mind is Asparagus Soup with Creamy Coconut Milk and African Black-eyed Beans Soup.