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Coconut Milk

This gluten-free, dairy-free ingredient can serve a number of roles in cooking. Get recipe ideas here.

How to Cook with Coconut Milk

Content and recipes provided by Thai Kitchen

Known as the milk of Asia, coconut milk is prized in Thai cuisine for its delicate flavor and luxurious texture.  It is diluted cream, pressed out from the thick, white flesh of a matured coconut.  The average mature coconut yields about 1 cup coconut cream and 1 to 2 cups coconut milk.

Thai Kitchen Coconut MilkLook for coconut milk made from the pressing of fresh, ripe coconut meat, not a coconut extract or thickener. The first-pressing of coconut meat is the liquid that rises to the top after coconut meat is squeezed one time.  It is the highest quality product, producing pure coconut milk and has the highest fat content (18-22%). Higher fat content is essential for thicker curries and delicious desserts. 

A quality coconut milk is pure white in color and has a smooth consistency.  It is not chunky and is not syrupy.  Coconut milk should have a nutty flavor and aroma with a light, naturally inherent sweetness. It should be pure coconut milk with no added water, sweetener or thickener. 

Coconut milk is used as the base for many curries, soups, beverages and desserts.  It is a delicious and exotic replacement for dairy and soy milk.  It is also gluten-free and vegan.  Once coconut milk is opened, transfer to a clean covered container and refrigerate in the coldest part of your refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.  Avoid freezing coconut milk if possible.

Coconut milk naturally separates in the can, with a layer of coconut cream settling at the top. Mix together upon opening for a nice consistency.

5 Gluten-Free Recipes Using Coconut Milk:

Ready to try using coconut milk at home? Here are 5 ways to incorporate this ingredient into your cooking:

1. Coconut Ginger Soup
This delicious soup can be made with chicken, shrimp or tofu. Ginger brightens the flavor while coconut milk adds a creamy texture.

2. Strawberry Coconut Smoothie
The typical smoothie gets a Thai twist when you use coconut milk in place of cow's milk.

3. Coconut Rice
This is a very nice mild and creamy dish to serve with spicy meats and curries.

4. Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)
One of Thailand’s signature soups. This savory dish incorporates all of the exciting flavors of Thai cuisine. Rich and satisfying, it’s a delicious addition to any feast, Thai or western.

5. Bananas in Coconut Milk (Gluoy Bwod Chee)
A simple, yet flavorful dessert. It's like a bowl of melted ice cream!


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