Stocking your pantry to make Thai curry? Do you know the differences between coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut water and cream of coconut?
Learn more about the different types stocked in the Asian Supper kitchen.
Coconut milk is produced by pureeing a mixture of coconut meat and water, then straining it to remove some of the fat. Twenty years ago in rural areas of Thailand and Laos, coconut milk was handmade daily by seeping coconut meat and hot water for 15 minutes, then extracting the “coconut milk” by squeezing it. For those of you who buy the light coconut milk, it means that the coconut milk is strained a second time producing a lower fat content. Also, AsianSupper does not recommend "light coconut milk" because sometimes it is thickened with flour and has little flavor. Thinning a good-quality coconut milk with water or cooking liquid (e.g., chicken broth) will result in a much tastier dish. Coconut milk is what you should be buying to make Thai curries or Asian desserts.
Coconut Cream has a higher ratio of coconut to water content. If you don’t shake your coconut milk before opening the can, there are two layers. The top thick white layer is actually coconut cream. The bottom layer of gray/whitish watery liquid is coconut water. Today, you can actually buy coconut cream solely by itself. Coconut cream is also suitable for making curries and desserts.
Coconut water is the liquid in a young coconut when you first crack it open. This is what you are drinking when you buy Zico Coconut Water or Vita Coconut Water. Coconut water has gained popularity in the US over the past two years because of its many benefits - more potassium than a banana to prevent cramping; it is fat free, low in calories and great for rehydration. Coconut water is suitable for a standalone beverage.
Cream of coconut is a delicious cream made from coconuts and blended with cane sugar. It is ideal for tropical drinks and desserts. You'll find this in the cocktail aisle. A brand of cream of coconut is Coco Lopez Cream Coconut. Many people use cream of coconut to make Pina Coladas, Coco Loco and Jamaican Bahama Mama.
Recipes using coconut milk:
What types of coconut liquids are in your pantry? How do you use them?