Coconut milk and cream not only add an inimitable decadent richness to your dishes, they’re actually really good for you, too. Most coconut-derived ingredients are! If you’re lactose intolerant or are just cutting down on dairy to improve your health, read on for ways to make your everyday meals and dishes healthier by using coconut cream and milk from suppliers in the Philippines:
As a dairy substitute
Coconut milk is both a lactose-free and vegan-safe option, so if you are lactose intolerant or are going vegan by cutting out meat and dairy products, desserts and baked goods are within your reach again. You can use it in place of creamer in your morning cup of coffee, make dairy-free yogurt or ice cream with it, or even whip it into cream to top your favorite pastries. Coconut milk contains a high fat content – the good kind – that can help you manage your blood sugar, which is good news for diabetics who love their sweet stuff.
As a base for sauces and dips
The beauty of coconut milk is that it’s such a versatile base that you can make all sorts of sauces with it, from sweet to savory. Make an easy sweet dip by combining coconut milk with some condensed milk and butter and just a bit of salt, which goes perfect with grilled fruits like pineapple or fried mantou bread. On the savory side of things, make an easy curry-inspired dip by adding your curry paste of choice to some coconut milk, soy, slivers of ginger, a little honey and fish sauce. Since coconut milk takes on the flavors of whatever you’re adding, don’t be afraid to experiment.
For the perfect smoothies and shakes
There are a few flavors we automatically associate with the tropics: pineapple, passion fruit, and mango are some examples. The flavor of coconut transports us to a beachside retreat every time, too, thanks to its strong association with palm fronds and the beach. Add crushed ice and some fruit and you have the perfect cooler for hot summer days, or any time you want to relive a summer by the beach. Coconut milk is also a bountiful source of electrolytes, which means it hydrates the body well and helps prevent fatigue.
Make your desserts coco-creamier
The world of coconut desserts is as vast as it is varied. In Southeast Asia where coconut milk is ubiquitous, they’ve made a myriad of delicious treats to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try che cuoi from Vietnam, a dessert made with bananas, mangoes, chunks of pineapple and tapioca balls drenched in a sauce made with coconut milk. You can make Western desserts with it, too; coconut milk can lend some wonderful richness to a panna cotta base or to layered jelly. Because coconut milk helps aid digestion and relieve constipation, it can be the perfect way to end a particularly heavy meal.
Create the best curries
The Indians and the Thai have had it right all along – coconut curry is one of the most sumptuous dishes you can serve your family for lunch or dinner. It’s heart-friendly, too, thanks to the lauric acid that is naturally present in coconuts, which improves cholesterol levels and keeps blood pressure low. Try khao soi gai, a coconut curry noodle dish from Thailand, or nandan khozi, an Indian chicken dish. Coconut milk contains sugars that help proteins like meat or fish brown evenly over a grill or in a pan. You can even try it in our very own pork adobo. Add some coconut milk next time you make this dish and prepare yourself for an explosion of flavors unlike anything you’ve ever had before.
What are some of your favorite ways to use coconut milk?