One tin of coconut milk – 17 scrumptious methods to make use of it, from lime dal to soda bread | Life and magnificence

Coconut milk has a dependable transformative energy, turning humble elements into one thing unique, engaging and a bit of festive. In a brief period of time, a few aubergines grow to be aubergine curry, for instance. Discovering a tin of coconut milk within the cabinet opens up potentialities.

However in case you are not a daily person of the stuff, chances are you’ll be alarmed to seek out that it’s one among a bewildering array of associated by-products, together with coconut water, coconut oil, coconut cream, creamed coconut (which is available in a block) and cream of coconut. Are any of those elements related or interchangeable? Kind of. Coconut milk and coconut cream are each constituted of squeezing the grated flesh of the fruit, with coconut cream being the richer model from the primary urgent. When you’ve got a contemporary coconut, it’s potential to do that your self.

Whereas most recipes specify both coconut milk or cream, one can usually stand in for the opposite: you’ll be able to dilute coconut cream with water to make milk, or cut back coconut milk to get cream. At a pinch, you’ll be able to style coconut milk by dissolving creamed coconut in scorching water at a ratio of 1 to 4 elements; in an emergency you’ll be able to whiz water with desiccated coconut flakes and squeeze out a tough equal of tinned coconut milk by means of a muslin. Cream of coconut, then again, is a closely sweetened product unsuitable for something however cocktails.

However we’re not right here to make hassle for ourselves – cooking with coconut milk is supposed to be straightforward. The following time you see some within the outlets, top off. Within the meantime, listed here are 17 totally different makes use of for a single 400g tin.

As versatile as coconut milk is, recipes usually break down into three classes: curries, puddings and different. The curries vary from straightforward to essentially fairly concerned, however maybe none is simpler than Rukmini Iyer’s lime and coconut dal. In addition to coconut milk, the recipe requires a small quantity of contemporary coconut chunks, however you’ll be able to usually discover these already minimize up on the grocery store. In any other case it’s stunningly easy: every little thing – pink lentils, onion, garlic, spices – is tipped right into a roasting tin and baked for 45 minutes.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s baked rooster curry. {Photograph}: Colin Campbell/The Guardian

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s baked rooster curry additionally spends a quiet hour within the oven by itself, after you have toasted the spices, browned the rooster and stirred every little thing into place. Nigel Slater’s mussels with tamarind and coconut milk is, in contrast, fast to arrange. It’s additionally versatile: in accordance with Slater, clams, fish or prawns will work simply as nicely.

Selina Periampillai’s Seychelles cari koko with prawns
Selina Periampillai’s Seychelles cari koko with prawns. {Photograph}: Yuki Sugiura

Selina Periampillai’s Seychellois cari koko with prawns is predicated on a spice mix known as massalé, which incorporates coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. If that sounds a bit fussy, do this turmeric, ginger and coconut fish curry utilizing cod and frozen peas.

Coconut milk is just not a dairy product and though it might probably cut up like one when heated, this shouldn’t be taken as an indication that you’ve achieved something flawed. In truth, in some dishes, it’s supposed to separate – as with Felicity Cloake’s good Thai inexperienced curry, the place the curry paste cooks within the separated coconut oil. Her recipe really requires coconut cream as a substitute of milk, so if you happen to assume that disqualifies it from this listing, right here’s one other: Meera Sodha’s vegan model, utilizing candy potato, aubergine and broccoli.

Ravinder Bhogal’s crispy fried eggs with coconut curry
Ravinder Bhogal’s crispy fried eggs with coconut curry. {Photograph}: Jean Cazals/The Observer

In case you are eager to construct up your repertoire of breakfast curries, attempt Ravinder Bhogal’s crispy fried eggs with coconut curry.

Benjamina Ebuehi’s grapefruit and coconut cheesecake.
Benjamina Ebuehi’s grapefruit and coconut cheesecake. {Photograph}: Laura Edwards/The Guardian

In desserts, coconut milk generally stands in for some dairy product or different – you’ll be able to, for instance, use it to make vegan whipped cream. However on this coconut panna cotta it’s only an addition, mixed with double cream, sugar and gelatine, and served with mango, lime and crushed ginger biscuits. It’s fast to make, however must set over a number of hours, ideally in a single day.

Benjamina Ebuehi’s grapefruit and coconut cheesecake can be a really dairy affair, containing because it does butter, double cream and cream cheese, together with the coconut milk, whereas Dan Lepard’s coconut milk layer cake is supplemented with white rum.

Jack Monroe’s soda bread made with coconut milk and just three other ingredients
Jack Monroe’s soda bread is made with coconut milk and simply three different elements. {Photograph}: Ola O Smit/The Guardian

You may whip up an prompt dressing for chilly noodle salads – or the rest you fancy – by mixing coconut milk with lime juice, oil, fish sauce, brown sugar and finely grated shallot. Alternatively, Jack Monroe seems an ingenious soda bread utilizing simply 4 elements: coconut milk, flour, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda. Yotam Ottolenghi places coconut milk on his Irish (steel-cut) oat porridge, together with mango, banana and maple syrup.

Vegan hot chocolate with coconut milk infused with cinnamon and cardamom
Vegan scorching chocolate with coconut milk infused with cinnamon and cardamom. {Photograph}: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Lastly, this reader recipe presents up vegan scorching chocolate constituted of coconut milk and darkish chocolate infused with cardamom and cinnamon. It’s nearly preposterously wealthy – dainty cups are really useful – however, because the nights attract, you may end up with a hankering for that form of factor.

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