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coconut milk substitute?

happygoluckyinoregon Jan 5, 2013 09:09 AM

I love to use coconut milk for curries and other things but it is way too FATTY for me. Is there a way of substituting another product that is light for this. I am thinking of using regular milk with a little potato starch and some coconut extract?

  1. h
    hawkeyeui93 Jan 5, 2013 09:16 AM

    Coconut Water is a good taste, but not texture/thickness substitute.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hawkeyeui93
      happygoluckyinoregon Jan 5, 2013 09:43 AM

      Thanks. I just found out on google that low fat coconut milk in a can is only 150 calories a cup, while regular is 560 calories. I remember seeing "light" coconut milk so am going to try that. Regular dairy milk has more than that!

      1. re: happygoluckyinoregon
        hawkeyeui93 Jan 5, 2013 02:13 PM

        Just so I am being clear, coconut water is from immature coconuts and is a bit different than either "light" or regular coconut milk.

    2. w
      willownt Jan 5, 2013 10:14 AM

      I would rather use yogurt than milk (or thickened milk); alternatively a smaller portion of coconut milk (or the low fat stuff) combined with yogurt (1/2-1/2, for example), than to use anything too unusual as a substitute. Personally I would avoid coconut extract.

      1. m
        magiesmom Jan 5, 2013 10:37 AM

        You can thin coconut milk with water to whatever degree you choose.

        3 Replies
        1. re: magiesmom
          happygoluckyinoregon Jan 5, 2013 11:30 AM

          thanks, But I think to thin it to the calories in the canned LIGHT coconut milk I just found online, would take 5 cans of water to 1 can - too much. But I appreciate the feedback.

          1. re: happygoluckyinoregon
            magiesmom Jan 5, 2013 01:45 PM

            well, if you try both you'll see the result is the same and the "lite" is pricier and often has junk added to it.

            1. re: magiesmom
              maxie Jan 5, 2013 01:57 PM

              Some brands of light coconut milk have water as their leading Ingredient. I'm with magirpesmom -- I thin it out myself.

        2. p
          pedalfaster Jan 5, 2013 02:11 PM

          One thing to try:

          Open your "regular" can of UNSHAKEN coconut milk with a rotary can opener.

          The "fat" should be on the top. The clear coconut "juice" below.

          Skim off any fat you want to use. I like to sautee my onions and other veggies in this fat. Omit adding any other fat if you have been doing this in the past. The coco-fat should be enough and I find it quite delicious.

          I then usually stir the rest before proceeding to the curry, but you can try to skim and toss. Would love to hear how this works out for you! (me? I just run an extra mile and call it even-steven).

          Good luck!

          18 Replies
          1. re: pedalfaster
            happygoluckyinoregon Jan 6, 2013 11:07 AM

            Thank you pedalfaster - its wonderful that you are young enough to run the extra mile - I am 81 years old and try to exercise as much as I can plus up and down my 13 steps at least 5-8 times a day. But not everyone is young and hearty, even though I am very healthy, no meds, vitamins, herbs, etc. which has kept me young.

            I didn't know about skimming off the fat to use to fry or saute, great idea. if you buy coconut fat in a jar its about $8.00!! I will try that.

            BTW, I made a delicious curry the Indian way the other night and it was wonderful, using greek yogurt and chickpea flour. If anyone wants the recipe, let me know. It has hard boiled eggs but you can use chicken, shrimp, tofu - anything you like.

            1. re: happygoluckyinoregon
              raskolnikov Jan 6, 2013 02:47 PM

              Please post that recipe, very curious.


              1. re: raskolnikov
                happygoluckyinoregon Jan 6, 2013 04:27 PM

                6 hard boiled eggs - (tofu would be good also)
                cut in half

                2 TBS flax or canola oil
                2" pcs of chopped gingerroot
                1 TBS garam masala
                1 tsp turmeric
                1 tsp fennel powder
                pinch of salt and pepper

                1 cup chopped tomatoes
                1 cup chicken broth or water or veg broth
                1TBS brown sugar ( optional)

                to thicken - 1 cup plain yogurt - any kind
                2 TBS chickpea flour whisked into it

                Saute all down to the herbs
                Add the tomatoes and broth
                pour in the mixed yogurt,chickpea flour mix

                Stir well and simmer about 5-10 minutes- add eggs
                Serve over brown rice

            2. re: pedalfaster
              C. Hamster Jan 6, 2013 03:09 PM

              Excellent tip about the hard fat on the top of the can.

              "coconut water" as in the current drink fad doesn't taste anything like coconut milk. I cannot imagine using it as a substitute.

              1. re: C. Hamster
                happygoluckyinoregon Jan 6, 2013 04:30 PM

                I agree. That's in a carton where you buy the soymilk and not the same thing. I did find cans of Lite Coconut Milk which is half the calories of regular and not more than regular milk for only $1.58 at my supermarket.

                I also purchased a jar of coconut oil for frying and sauteeing once in awhile - for 2 c. at my store it was only $6.30 and it keeps forever. Scrambled eggs are delicious cooked in it. As is salmon.

                1. re: C. Hamster
                  hawkeyeui93 Jan 7, 2013 07:18 AM

                  Del Strofe (sp?) "Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook" has several recipes where he uses the "current drink fad" as a substitute for coconut milk. All coconut water is comprised of is the liquid found in immature coconuts and thus as I stated above, it works for taste, but not texture.

                  1. re: hawkeyeui93
                    C. Hamster Jan 7, 2013 08:15 AM

                    I drink coconut water -- as in the current drink fad -- and can personally attest that it tastes nothing like canned coconut milk. IMO it would make for a very disappointing substitution.

                    1. re: C. Hamster
                      hawkeyeui93 Jan 7, 2013 09:08 AM

                      Have you cooked with it?

                  2. re: C. Hamster
                    hawkeyeui93 Jan 23, 2013 04:06 PM

                    Here's an article showing uses for coconut water in cooking for your kind review ... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03...

                    1. re: hawkeyeui93
                      goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2013 04:28 PM

                      That recipe says you can substitute coconut water for only half of the coconut milk in the recipe, not replace it completely. And the only reason they suggest the substitution is to cut down on fat - which you can also do by using reduced-fat coconut milk. Coconut water & coconut milk taste *nothing* alike, and have completely different textures/viscosities. They're not appropriate 1-for-1 swaps no matter what you're cooking.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        Violatp Jan 23, 2013 04:31 PM

                        Wow, yeah. I love coconut milk and coconut water, but there's no way they can be interchangeable.

                        1. re: Violatp
                          C. Hamster Jan 23, 2013 05:22 PM

                          That was my point. A substance that doesn't taste like another makes a poor substitute for it.

                          1. re: C. Hamster
                            Violatp Jan 23, 2013 05:23 PM

                            I was agreeing with you. :-)

                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                          hawkeyeui93 Jan 23, 2013 06:40 PM

                          Had I not actually used it as a substitute, I would completely agree with you, No issues with taste, only a viscosity/thickness issue as I stated above. I know they taste nothing alike until used in cooking. Do note that the OP wanted coconut milk substitutes and exchanging one half of the coconut milk in a recipe with coconut water [as the recipe I attached suggested] might very well do the trick for him/her.

                          1. re: hawkeyeui93
                            goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2013 07:50 PM

                            Do note that the OP wanted coconut milk substitutes and exchanging one half of the coconut milk in a recipe with coconut water [as the recipe I attached suggested] might very well do the trick for him/her.
                            As would using reduced-fat or lite coconut milk, which would provide the actual flavor of coconut milk and avoid compromising the texture of the dish.

                            My point is that the example you provided isn't a *substitute* it's a partial swap. You can't replace ALL the coconut milk in a recipe with coconut water and maintain the integrity and flavor of the completed dish. A coconut curry made with coconut water - and no coconut milk - isn't a coconut curry. It doesn't taste like it, look like it, or feel like it.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                              hawkeyeui93 Jan 23, 2013 07:56 PM

                              Have you tried cooking with it or you merely coming up with your conclusions by having drank it? I have ....and I stand by my actual statement that taste is not the issue.

                              1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                goodhealthgourmet Jan 23, 2013 08:26 PM

                                I have, once, and it was a mistake. I was craving coconut curry one night and realized that I was out of coconut milk, but I had an open carton of coconut water in the refrigerator that I needed to use up. So even though I knew it wouldn't be remotely the same, I decided to try it as an experiment anyway. The flavor and body of the coconut milk were conspicuously absent and the dish was a disappointment.

                                I didn't say you can't cook with coconut water, I said you can't use it in place of coconut milk and expect the same results. And I'm hardly the only person here to make that point, so I'm not sure why you're continuing to debate with me on it. If you want to continue using coconut water as a substitute for coconut milk and you believe that "taste is not the issue," that's your prerogative. And it's mine to disagree based on my own subjective taste & experience.

                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                wendysan Apr 5, 2014 07:48 AM

                                If someone asks for a "substitute" for an ingredient, what is wrong with suggesting a "partial swap"? Swap = substitute. If I'm asking for a substitute and someone gives me a partial substitute, at least that gives me an idea ... then I get to decide whether or not to go with that idea. If you don't like this person's suggestion, don't try it, but there's no reason to be so hateful. (Example: using half Splenda and half sugar IS absolutely a substitute for using all sugar.)

                    2. lynnlato Jan 6, 2013 04:33 PM

                      I just had Blue Diamond's Almond Coconut milk. It tastes like coconut milk but only has 45 calories in one cup. It's very light so I'm not certain if it will give you the creamy sauce that is so lovely but it will likely taste good.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lynnlato
                        magiesmom Jan 23, 2013 05:30 PM

                        The fat is important when coconut milk is called for. You don;t want something light, you want something creamy.

                      2. AntarcticWidow Jan 24, 2013 02:10 AM

                        I usually use fresh frozen coconut milk. If I want to reduce the fat content, I let it thaw out and pour it into a cup or bowl and let the cream rise, then skim the cream off.

                        Another product I like is Coconut manna by Nutiva. It's delicious and made from organic whole coconut. I like to dig out a spoonful or so and stir it into my curries for flavor.

                        Occasionally I will use a coconut cream powder. It comes in a package and you can add hot water to reconstitute it, but I just sprinkle it into my sauces as I'm cooking. It contains coconut extract, hydrolysed starch, milk protein and tricalcium phosphate. Product of Indonesia.

                        My point is that you don't have to use a lot of either the manna or coconut cream powder, thus reducing the fat level and still getting maximum flavor.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: AntarcticWidow
                          hawkeyeui93 Jan 24, 2013 07:55 AM

                          Great options. Thanks for sharing. It makes me want to try cooking with coconut cream power.

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