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Read your canned coconut milk label!

Michelly Feb 25, 2012 02:47 PM

Whenever I see coconut milk on sale, I stock up a few cans, regardless of the brand, thinking that they should be fairly similar.
So I pull out one can each of two different brands, since the recipe for Coconut Rice Pudding called for 2 cups and each can is 13.5 oz. Upon opening them, I discovered the thickness of one brand was like that of creme fraiche while the other brand was much more like coconut milk; a somewhat watered down whole milk. Reading the labels, which is what I should've done before buying, I found that the thick coconut milk was coconut extract, water, and "thickeners", while the other actually said "coconut milk".
So I mixed the two, and had to alter the cooking time to adjust for the thickness, which is normally obtained through the cooking.
Lesson learned!! Get the real stuff!!

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  1. cookmyassoff Apr 6, 2012 03:27 PM

    if u can find a good asian store u may be able to find it frozen. the quality is a lot better and it seems to be the right consistency. no thickeners and stuff.

    1. m
      markfifton Apr 6, 2012 04:18 PM

      Ah that makes sense. I actually like the thicker kind when I make dishes like panang curry. The thicker texture when put into sauces seems to come out tasting better than when it is thinner.

      1. Miss Needle Apr 7, 2012 08:07 AM

        I've heard tetra pak coconut milk is pretty good as it doesn't have any additives. Never tried it as I end up making my own using dessicated coconut as it's fresher and cheaper. I guess you can make a whole bunch and put it in the freezer for later consumption if you wish.


        1 Reply
        1. re: Miss Needle
          cookmyassoff Apr 7, 2012 08:20 AM


        2. c
          cacruden Apr 7, 2012 10:54 AM

          Oh god, oh god, oh god..... KILL yourself now... canned coconut milk/cream is horrendous. DON'T do it.....

          Buy a good coconut, get a chinese cleaver and whack the shell while rotating it until it cracks in half and the water released. Rinse the coconut. Then take one of the Sri Lankan/indian coconut scrapers and scrape the coconut out...... then add warm water.... place the immersion blender in it to mix it a little then squeeze out the coconut milk cream goodness through a cheesecloth.... The cream will rise to the top, the milk on the bottom. The 15 minutes it will take you to make your own - will be the best 15 minutes you can invest. Canned is crap.

          Believe this version was invented in Sri Lanka 50+ years ago, also available in Indian specialty stores - if you have Sri Lankan friends they might show you where it can be had.

          This is not the best brand - but it is good enough - I just get many of them for when they wear out.

          Frozen is better than canned (taste wise) but it does change the texture a little.

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