Cooking with Coconut Milk
Coconut…is it good or bad for you? Conflicting reports circulate around this tasty fruit. Or is it a seed?
The proper botanical classification names it as both. Coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, which means a fruit which has a hard covering enclosing the seed. (Other drupes include peaches and olives.)
If you are lactose intolerant, coconut milk is one of the many animal milk alternatives available to you. Luckily, coconut milk recipes are delicious! Coconut milk adds a rich, sweet creaminess almost anywhere you'd use cow's milk. Since it's high in saturated fats and calories, it should not be overused, but a couple of ounces a day can actually be beneficial.
The majestic coconut has been mainstreamed into grocery stores the world over and highly-sought for its delicious taste.
DIY Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is derived from boiling the flesh or pulpy white “meat” of the coconut wall.
To make coconut milk from a raw coconut, start by draining the coconut water. To drain the water, pierce one of the eyes on the end of the coconut. After draining the water, place the coconut in the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the coconut from the oven, cool, and crack it open with a hammer. Scoop the white “meat” out and cut it into small bits. Toss the bits into a blender and add enough hot water to cover. Blend so that the coconut meat is finely chopped. The better you grate the coconut, the more milk you will be able to extract. Squeeze the meat over a bowl. The white substance that comes out is coconut milk. Coconut milk will keep in the refrigerator for about two days.
The same method can be used on packaged, unsweetened, dessicated coconut.
Pina Colada Coconut Milk Smoothie
Ingredients: 1 banana, 1 one-inch slice fresh pineapple, 8-oz plain yogurt, 8-oz fresh or canned coconut milk, 1 TBS honey
Mix ingredients, one at a time, in a food processor and serve immediately. Serves two.
Chicken Coconut Curry
Ingredients: 1 large onion, chopped, 3 cloves garlic, crushed, 2 TBS coconut oil, 1 fryer, cut into bite-size pieces, 1 TSP each: chili power, paprika, cumin, 2 TSP curry power,1 bay leaf, 2 large, fresh tomatoes, chopped, 1 ½ cups potatoes, peeled and chopped, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 cups water, Brown rice, steamed
Heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic. Add chicken and spices to the pan. When the chicken is cooked through, add the potatoes and continue to fry until the potatoes are done and the chicken has reached a golden brown. Add milk and water (as desired). Serve over rice. Salt and pepper to taste.
Thai Veggie Curry
Ingredients: Coconut Milk, 1 Onion, 1 Red Bell Pepper, 12 Oz. Frozen Green Beans, 1 Cup Sliced Button Mushrooms, Thai red curry spice, white rice
Coconut milk curry is another great dish that is both satisfying and delicious. It’s also an easy dish to make. Start by chopping and frying one onion, one red bell pepper, 1 cup button mushrooms, and one 12-ounce package of frozen green beans. For some spicy heat, add a little Thai spice, including curry. Pour the coconut milk over the top. Heat until it begins to boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve over rice. The curry taste combined with the coconut milk is surprisingly delicious.
ABC Health & Wellbeing: Coconut: good fat or bad?
WiseGeek: What is Coconut Milk?
Library of Congress: Is a coconut a fruit, nut or seed?