Coconut milk, an excellent ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes, is not actually ‘milk’ per se – that is, there is no dairy in coconut milk. It is made by steeping finely grated coconut meat in water, the mixture of which is then drained and squeezed to create the ‘milk’. Coconut ‘cream’ will rise to the top of the liquid, which will often be the case with canned coconut milk. The ‘milk’ and ‘cream’ may be combined together with gentle shaking, or the cream may be spooned off the top for use in recipes.
Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is the thin, clear liquid found inside a fresh coconut.
Coconut milk has a clean, slightly woodsy flavor, with rich, barely sweet undertones. It is often found in foods from warm climes, from Southeast Asia to South America – anywhere the coconut palm flourishes. It tempers the heat of a fiery curry, it lends complexity to simple white rice, and it is the foundation in all manner of candy, beverages and desserts. Consider coconut risotto arancini, for a sweet twist on a classic Italian preparation. Or create decadent coconut and dark chocolate pot de crèmes. It makes an excellent marinade for poultry, fish and shellfish, tenderizing the meat and infusing it with its haunting, rich flavor. Grill ginger and coconut-marinated shrimp or chicken, and serve alongside a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. GreenLeaf has canned coconut milk in stock right now, or fresh coconuts from which you can make your own – call us and add this tropical treat to your menu today!