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Coconut Milk from A to Z: 26 Things to Know

Tuesday, 09/04/2018 15:57
What is Coconut Milk? 26 interesting facts and figures about the liquid that comes from mature coconuts, used to cook savoury and sweet dishes.

Appetite. This vegetable drink contributes to making you feel full, and has a high calorie-content – approximately 200 kcal per 100 g.

Beauty. Coconut milk is an invaluable beauty aid: it is added to moisturizing creams, mixed with olive oil to make an effective makeup remover, used alone as an excellent hair conditioner.

Chanel. The French fashion house signed a bag called “lait de coco”, a fun chic shoulder bag in silvery leather recalling the traditional tetra pack packaging used for milk, and which sounds like “coconut milk” thanks to the play on words with the name of the famous fashion designer.

DIY. So what if you do not live in the Tropics? You can still learn to make your own home-made coconut milk starting from dried coconut: the method is quite simple.

Eggs. Would you like to make a creamier omelette without having to use dairy products? Add coconut milk to your eggs and try them with various types of flour to make some delicious and nutritious dishes.

Fat. Coconut pulp contains a fatty substance – oil – and according to the quantity of water added it is possible to obtain a milk that is more or less thick or runny. When the percentage of water is low, the resulting mixture is “coconut cream”.

Coconut flour.

Grating. Coconut milk is made by grating the coconut pulp (coconut flour), to which the boiling water of the same coconut and/or water (or sometimes milk) is added, and subsequently strained.

Healthy. This is some very healthy food rich in beneficial saturated fat and many other nutrients.

Ice-cream. Coconut milk is ideal for making vegan coconut ice-cream.

Jelly drink. Iced coconut milk and green jelly balls made from rice flour add up to “cendol”, a popular beverage in south-east Asia.

Kalamay. This is the Philippine word for “sugar” as well as being the name of a typical dessert made from coconut milk, brown sugar and ground glutinous rice. It is sold in coconut shells; this sticky dessert appears in many other versions in the cuisines of the same region, from Brunei to Singapore and Malaysia.

Lauric acid. One of the fatty acids contained in coconut milk which contributes to raising the level of “good” HDL cholesterol.

Marinate. Coconut milk is usually eaten cooked but it is just as good when uncooked. Try using it for example to marinate fish or meat and enjoy the delicious results.

Nasi Lemak. The Malay national dish is just one of many varieties of coconut rice to be found in the world. In this recipe fragrant rice is cooked in coconut milk with pandan leaves.

Nasi Lemak.

Ohn no kha swè. A Burmese dish of wheat flour noodles and curried chicken dropped into a coconut milk broth.

Piñacolada. This cocktail, which was invented in Porto Rico in the 50’s where it became the national drink, is prepared with coconut cream, instead of milk, and mixed with pineapple juice and rum. It is not hard to believe that a glass of this drink has the same number of calories as a cheeseburger.

Quiche. A delicious variation of this savoury French tart is made in some Latin American countries using coconut milk/cream instead of cow’s milk cream, together with other ingredients such as prawns and vegetables like courgettes, leeks or chard.

Red curry. Hot and spicy Thai red curry, which is popular all over the world, is just one of the hundreds of “curries” prepared in India (try the “Meen Molee” for instance!) and in South East Asia of which coconut milk is an essential ingredient.

Serabi. Probably originating from the Island of Java “serabi” are Indonesian pancakes – which are also consumed in Thailand – made from coconut milk and rice flour.

Thick&Thin. Fresh coconut milk is either thick (with a 17-27% fat content), suitable for desserts and rich consistent sauces, or thin (5-7% fat), normally used for savoury dishes.

Uha'ari. Consisting of Ū (milk) and ha'ari (coconut), this is the term used for pure coconut milk in French Polynesia. When mixed with lemon juice and seawater or coconut water, it becomes another condiment called miti ha'ari.


Vatapá. A typical dish of north and north-east Brazil is a paste made from bread, shrimps, coconut milk, chopped peanuts and palm oil. In Bahia State it is a ritual offering in the Afro-American religion of Candomblé.

Water. Coconut water is the white milky substance contained in a fresh coconut, (that is to say less than 5-7 months old). When the coconut ripens, this water turns into pulp so an older coconut is therefore more suitable for the production of coconut milk.

Xanthosoma sagittifolium. A tropical plant with elephant ears used in the preparation of “callaloo”, a typical Caribbean dish of African origin which in many countries is stewed in coconut milk.

Yummy. Coconut milk works like magic when it comes to adding a delicious twist to your recipes!

Zulia. In the Venezuelan state of Zulia, the most characteristic dish is “Mojito en coco”, made from the firm white flesh of fish, such as corb, spices and coconut milk. Not to be confused with the alcoholic cocktail of the same name!


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