Coconut milk is obtained by squeezing the flesh of fresh coconuts. This creamy and flavorful liquid is an essential ingredient in the cuisines of Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Coconut milk is high in iron, phosphorous, and potassium. It is also a good source of zinc, selenium, copper, and manganese. The main producers of coconut milk are Indonesia, the Philippines, and India.
Coconut milk is packaged in cans or in cartons of different sizes (generally 200, 250, and 500 ml) It is also available frozen or in powder for reconstituting. All of these types of coconut milk often have different additives. Those stating “coconut milk, water” on the label are undeniably the best.
Coconut milk can be made at home. Grate the flesh of a fresh coconut and soak in spring water, squeezing regularly, until the flesh no longer has any flavor.
Coconut milk can be used to substitute fresh cream for an exotic touch.
Coconut milk can be used for sweet and savory dishes, both cooked and raw. It makes a tasty combination with carrots, tones down the intensity of curry spices, and added to pan-fried shrimp (prawns) or chicken. It can also take the place of yogurt in cakes, milk in many preparations (crepe batter), and adds creaminess to smoothies. It is used in a piña coladas, a Latin American cocktail.
Sterilized coconut milk can be stored for several months in a cool place. With time, coconut milk can separate, leaving a cream and a thin liquid. This has no effect on its quality. Simply mix vigorously to blend before using as normal. After opening, coconut milk should be stored in the refrigerator and used within two days.
Depending on the amount of water added, the fat content of coconut milk can vary. Its fat content is typically 15 to 30 percent, which explains why it can be used instead of cream. It contains a good amount of minerals, particularly trace elements (iron, copper, zinc). But it contains few vitamins.