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Your Favorite thing to make with coconut milk (savory please, no sweets)???

I really would like to use this more, any ideas for savory dishes, easy sides, etc. I love everything seafood so any of that is a plus..... (thanks in advance).

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  1. I read about using coconut milk to make the rice for red beans and rice in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. I loved it, and always try to do it now.

    1 Reply
    1. this is a great, easy recipe:

      you could also do mussels with a Thai curry sauce (red or green).

      i did a quick search on Epicurious while i was there, and they have quite a few coconut milk recipes with fish/shellfish...

      5 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        The process described in the Shrimp Madras recipe wouldn't really be a sear, right? More of a saute? Not trying to nitpick, just looking for clarification.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          yum those are keepers! and I could be a shrimpatarian (live off only shrimp) LOL

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            @khoops, technically, the only difference between searing & sauteing is the color - they're both done quickly over high heat, but with a sear the goal is browning. when i make this dish (or any shrimp dish that requires cooking other ingredients later), i sear them quickly to get a little color on them, remove them from the pan while i get the sauce going, then add them back in for the last couple of minutes of cooking, just to make sure they're cooked through and coated with sauce. i've found that most recipes (and people) overcook shrimp. they don't need more than a couple of minutes on each side *at most* so if you followed the directions in that recipe to a T, you'd end up with inedible rubber shrimp. i actually should have mentioned that when i posted the link - cooking the shrimp until they turn pink & curl up, and then *keeping* them on the heat while you reduce the sauce is WAY too long. once they're pink & begin to curl, they're DONE.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Searing is also done with less oil than saute.

            1. I make a big batch of red Thai curry (I use the receipe in True Thai), then divide into smaller batches and freeze into 1/2 cup containers. Sautee some shrimp in butter and EVOO, and add the red curry and a cup of coconut milk, and serve over rice or rice noodles....yum! Or brush the curry/coconut milk over chicken strips thredded on a skewer and grill, or heat leftover duck in the mixture...you get the idea!

              An easy side dish is Thai-style creamed corn, also from True Thai. Cut a couple of ears of corn off the cob, fry in a bit of butter, add some salt and pepper, add some coconut milk (I use about 1 cup per 2 cups of corn), and then chiffonade some Thai basil and stir in at the last minute. This is our go-to side dish with Thai turkey or shrimp wraps.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Niki in Dayton

                I've been thinking about doing chowder with it. I googled coconut milk chowder & it returned- Shrimp & scallop, curried corn, corn & crab...yum yum!

                I'm a big fan of Thai curries too. You can get little cans of prepared paste in import stores that are good. I like the Maesri brand, they have green, red, yellow, panang & massaman.

                Indian curries are really good too but I've never made them.

                Coconut rice is good with jamaican jerk or any spicy grilled meat.

              2. Coconut milk is very good in lentil soup, especially with sausage and peppers, but the lentil and coconut base are very adaptable to many types of meat and vegetable, I also use it to make dish with curried potatoes and cauliflower, fresh basil, and, sometimes, tomatoes.

                3 Replies
                1. re: onceadaylily

                  I really like the coconut rice and red beans or pigeon peas.

                  A really simple version of chicken sate that's pretty good.

                  Marinate the chicken breast strips in 1 tbs soy sauce, 1/2 can coconut milk, 1 tbs minced garlic and 1 1/2 tbs curry powder. If you cut the chicken strips a little thicker than what the restaurants usually serve you can get away with grilling them without the skewers.

                  Peanut sauce

                  1 1/2 cans coconut milk, 1/2 cup or so Jif peanut butter and 1-2 tbs red curry paste. Cook over low heat to marry flavors. Add soy sauce or fish sauce to taste.

                  1. re: cajundave

                    hmmmm, I loved the peas (pigeon) and rice in teh bahamas - think they use coconut milk?

                    1. re: lexpatti

                      I don know about the Bahamas mon but er in Jamaica we use the coconut milk somtimes.


                      I know you be needin some arie jerk to go wit tat.

                  1. Try Muqueca de Peixe, it's a Brazilian fish stew made with simmered fish, shrimp, tomato, onions, garlic and a little dende oil and it's awesome.


                    9 Replies
                    1. re: ThereseTheFoodie

                      Oh my god, I went searching for that recipe after having it a restaurant many months ago. I can't wait to make that.

                      1. re: lexpatti

                        i remembered that thread, so i dug it up:

                        did you ever end up making any of the recipes?

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          I saved it, but haven't yet - I'm still doing renovations to 4 rooms so my kitchen is basically the grill these day. It's hard not to get creative in the kitchen, I still manage a lil but the stove is way across the room and unplugged.

                      2. re: ThereseTheFoodie

                        That sounds fabulous, and I wil make it this fall when it is cooler. (I don't even invite friends for meals from June to Nov!) Thanks for posting. Right now I have half a can of coconut milk, some red curry paste and some already cooked large shrimp. I will make something simple and put it over rice, just for me.

                        1. re: MazDee

                          MazDee, you've got the major components for a classic dish there, you just need to add a few things to bring it together...fry the curry paste in a bit of oil first, then add the coconut milk, a pinch of brown sugar (or palm sugar if you happen to have it), and perhaps a bit of grated ginger. simmer for a few minutes, add the shrimp just to reheat, and finish with a splash of fish sauce, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a quick stir to distribute. garnish with chopped fresh basil or cilantro. serve over jasmine rice.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            Mm.. one of my favorites. I will have to try basil with it. Thanks ghg!!

                            1. re: WhatThePho

                              sure thing - hope you like the addition!

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              Damit I forgot to fry the curry paste first, Thanks for the reminder

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                This is my favorite recipe along these lines with mussels though I have added other shellfish.

                          2. This gumbo is one of our favorites:

                            (I couldn't disagree more with the reviewer who didn't care for the mustard greens - we use collards or mustards and love them in it.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: shanagain

                              Interesting dish, I'll have to try it. Although getting all those different types of seafood in small quantities would be hard for me, maybe just shrimp and crab.

                              I would not call it a gumbo though.

                              1. re: cajundave

                                Yeah, it's gumbo like a gumbo z'herbes is gumbo - a loose iteration.

                                We do shrimp & fish (snapper is good, tilapia is cheaper & more readily available in my neck of the woods so we use it a lot) and still love it.

                                I'm funny in that gumbo is not "winter food" for me, and this one in particular is perfect for summer. The broth is lighter than you'd expect, and looking back over the recipe I realized I've sort of adapted it to our tastes by skipping the Worcestershire and using sriracha instead of scotch bonnets for convenience. YMMV, of course, but it's surprisingly adaptable IME.

                            2. Thai green curry with green peppers, onions, carrots, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves and diced chicken thigh meat. The broth is real creamy from the coconut milk. Served over jasmine rice it's so silky in texture.

                              1. Spicy salmon in red curry sauce with coconut and fresh pineapple and fresh napa cabbage, side is jasmine rice.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  I have been looking and looking and looking for my source, but I just cannot find it. I modified it a bit anyway. I plan to add cooked shrimp to it next time, I'm certain it'll be wonderful!! So here it is, adapted from...something, by someone. :(

                                  Thai Wild Onion Soup
                                  Serves four as a first course

                                  1 can coconut milk (full fat)
                                  1 large bunch wild onions, green part only - or sub whole green onions
                                  Juice of two limes
                                  2 large carrots, sliced thin
                                  2 large potatoes, sliced thin
                                  1 zucchini, cut into small wedges
                                  2 dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced thin
                                  1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
                                  1 1-inch piece fresh ginger
                                  1 3-inch piece fresh lemongrass
                                  1 dried chili, or chili paste, to taste

                                  Place coconut milk, green onion, salt and lime in blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.

                                  Bring 4 coconut milk cans worth of water to a boil. Add all remaining ingredients except zucchini and return to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes and carrots are barely tender. Add zucchini and continue to simmer 5 minutes.

                                  Remove ginger and lemongrass from vegetable pot. Stir in coconut puree and heat through.

                                  Serve hot with jasmine-scented rice.

                                2. I second many of the dishes mentioned--Thai red or green curries, fish or shrimp dishes, etc. I will mention that rice cooked in coconut milk makes a great side dish to roasted or grilled fish or poultry, too. You can even add a vegetable in the final minutes of cooking to incorporate with the coconut rice, which makes it a quick weeknight option.

                                  1. Malaysian Beef Rendang
                                    Carribean Goat Curry (Spice Market in Manchester has goat meat)
                                    Malaysian Mutton/Goat Curry
                                    Coconut Rice (the various Thai, Burmese, or Malay types, no beans needed)
                                    Thai Choo Chi Shrimp

                                    1. Saute sliced ginger, garlic, shallots and chilies. Add coconut milk and perhaps some chunks of squash. Cook on medium heat. Add shrimp and cook through. Serve with rice. You can alter this basic recipe by addition; change things up with fish sauce, extra vegetables like green beans or bamboo shoots, souring agents or seasonings, as desired.

                                      Coconut milk is also an intriguing change of pace when added to ceviche.

                                      1. Coconut Rice -- use equal parts coconut milk and water instead of all water. Or use more coconut milk for a richer flavor. Add pandan leaves if you have them for authentic Malay style rice.

                                        Sothee -- one of my favorite coconut milk preparations. Heat some oil and add black mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds if you have them. When the mustard seeds splutter, add some sliced onion and curry leaves. When the onions are soft, add 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder, mix, and then add about 2 cups coconut milk and 2 cups water. Now add any or all of the following: sliced cabbage, green beans, carrot, or fried tofu. Or you can leave the sothee plain with no veggies. Bring to a simmer, add salt to taste. It should be a thin soup-like dish - add more water if needed. Ladle over white rice and squeeze a lime wedge over before serving. I usually serve it with asian style fried fish or chicken pieces.

                                        Sambals -- many Malay sambals use coconut milk to tone down the spiciness. Blend shallots, red chillis (a lot), fresh lemongrass, and garlic. Saute in oil until it starts to brown. Add salt, tamarind water, a touch of sugar, and your protein (chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu, etc). When the protein is cooked, add some coconut milk. Adjust salt as needed. This is a dry dish -- goes well with coconut rice.

                                        A good chicken curry also goes well with coconut milk. Make a dry curry preparation and add coconut milk at the end to loosen it up a bit. I prefer it with south indian/Malay type curries with fennel seed, star anise, curry leaves, etc.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: boogiebaby

                                          i second the Malay/south Indian chix curry....excellent with either rice or roti.

                                        2. I put it in my creamy vegetable soup/chowder (lots of potatoes and corn) and add some canned chipotle for flavor/heat.

                                          1. http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Red-...

                                            I really like this lentil soup with coconut. Definitely use the red lentils-the color is wonderful and I think they taste better than the regular brownish ones.

                                            1. World's easiest curry is to saute chicken thigh and breast cubes in any oil 'til half done; add minced garlic and ginger and sliced white onions and bell peppers (red and green). Finish sauteeing; add a tbs. garam masala and 1/2 c. chicken broth; simmer hard 5 minutes and add a can of coconut milk; cook down another 10-15 minutes; add a bag of fresh baby spinach and let wilt, add a cubed tomato and heat through; correct w/ salt and pepper; serve w/ chopped cilantro, lime, and hot sauce over hot rice.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mamachef

                                                I've got to try this. I have baby bok choy, but no spinach. I might just pass on the greens.

                                              2. I had to rework a penne with mushroom dish to be vegan, so used coconut milk to make it creamy, and it was delicious! It would be good with a seafood pasta dish, I think.