Many people know that there are many different kinds of milk alternatives out there. Most of these alternatives are used by people who cannot or will not consume dairy milk, though there are times when recipes may call for a particular kind of milk. A good example of this is the fact that most Thai dishes will make use of coconut milk because coconut milk was such a widespread part of that community.
Even within the world of milk alternatives, there are some types of milk that have their own subsets. Again, consider coconut milk as an example of this.
Not only is there the standard coconut milk that you would use in a recipe, or even on its own, but there is also unsweetened coconut milk, condensed coconut milk, and there is light coconut milk. All of these milk types have different aspects to them, meaning that most of them are not interchangeable unless you are willing to change the way your recipe tastes.
For the most part, these types of coconut milk are pretty straightforward on what they are. Unsweetened coconut milk, as the name would suggest, is coconut milk that does not have any added sugars to it and has not been altered in any way to add sweetness where there shouldn’t be any.
Likewise, there is condensed coconut milk which has been boiled and reduced to be a slightly thicker, noticeably sweeter version of your standard coconut milk. But what exactly is light coconut milk, and how does its use differ from other types of coconut milk?
The Difference Between Standard Coconut Milk and Light Coconut Milk
Your standard container of coconut milk is pretty healthy and is often regarded as a good replacement for your usual dairy milk. It is also used as a common ingredient in a number of different dishes around the world. However, there are some problems with coconut milk that other plant-based milks do not have.
The main problem that coconut milk has is that it is high in calories and fat, as this is what coconuts are often high in. This means that when you turn the coconuts into a milk, that milk is also going to be high in fats and calories.
While this isn’t a problem on its own, as most other types of milk will have a fair amount of nutrients in them, coconut milk is one of the few types of plant-based milk alternatives that do not have a noticeable amount of vitamins or minerals in it. This means that coconut milk is actually quite unhealthy for you, as it has a high amount of fat and calories and no real benefit for taking those in.
If you are looking to coconut milk as a dairy alternative that is healthier than cow’s milk, then you are going to be right back where you started, with a drink that is high in both calories and fat but doesn’t offer anything in return. This is where light coconut milk comes into play.
As with most other food products that are named as a “light” variant of themselves, light coconut milk is designed to be a reduced-fat version of your typical coconut milk.
Some types of light coconut milk will only be reduced fat versions, meaning that there is still some fat in it, but not nearly enough to have the same health effects as it normally would.
These milks are often best used when you are working with a recipe that calls for coconut milk as an ingredient, as you won’t have to make too many alterations this way. No matter how you might feel about the amount of fat in your coconut milk, the fat plays an important role in the cooking process, so at least some of it is necessary.
There are other types of light coconut milk that claim to be fat-free, reducing almost all of the fat from the drink to make sure that you can have as healthy of a drink as possible while still relying on coconut milk. In these cases, it is not recommended to use the fat-free versions of coconut milk for cooking.
The different chemical composition of fat-free coconut milk will alter most recipes that have coconut milk as an integral ingredient, and it is often not worth trying to make up that difference by adding a substitute for that fat.
The type of coconut milk that you choose to work with will depend entirely on what your needs are and what you are using the coconut milk for. People who are looking for a fat-free drink in the mornings can often get better results from the completely fat-free versions of light coconut milk, as these will still carry a close enough resemblance to coconut milk in taste to make it worth it.
People who are making use of coconut milk in cooking will want to try and stick to using the coconut milk that is recommended, although it is possible to use light coconut milk in place of regular coconut milk if you know how to substitute in the difference in fat content.
These are the biggest differences between your standard box of coconut milk at the store and the cans of coconut milk that brand themselves as light. Now that you know what the main difference between this type of milk and other types of milk are, you can begin to focus on the differences in taste and texture, as well as learning to do what you can to replace the coconut milk you use in cooking with a low-fat light coconut milk.
What Does Light Coconut Milk Taste Like?
Light coconut milk, being quite a comparison to the two percent milk that you will generally see in stores, tastes somewhat similar to that with a few separate problems to it. First of all, light coconut milk tends to have a very watered down taste and appearance, as the fat in coconut milk is what gives it its traditional taste. So you should expect that light coconut milk will not taste anything like your usual coconut milk.
On top of this, because the composition of the milk has been changed drastically, many companies that offer light coconut milk will also add stabilizers and other additives to the milk to try and make it mimic the appearance of your traditional coconut milk. Not only will this make it more difficult to tell the two apart, but this also means that these additives will add a strange taste to the coconut milk itself.
Most of the people who try to compare the taste of light coconut milk with that of traditional coconut milk will find that it has a thinner texture and that it will have an artificial, chemical flavor undertone to it because of the additives that are typically included. There are very few types of coconut milk that do not have these additives in them.
What this means for you and your search for a healthier coconut milk is that you are going to end up dealing with a drink that does not live up to its taste like the original does. This is because the reduced content of the milk as well as the fact that there are often enough additives to mean that even if the texture is properly preserved, the taste will be nothing resembling the original.
So, this leaves the idea of cooking with coconut milk that is made to be a reduced fat version. More often than not, it is not going to be a good idea to try and cook with light coconut milk. Most recipes that call for some amount of coconut milk are relying on both the taste of the coconut milk and the fat content of the milk to tie the dish together.
With the amount of fat that has been reduced from the coconut milk, the light coconut milk becomes less of a milk and more of a coconut-flavored water, and while this might be something you are looking for in a drink, it is not what you need to make your dishes properly.
You should not try to replace any recipe that calls for any amount of coconut milk, and specifically coconut milk, with a type of light coconut milk. You will be sorely disappointed in the results of your dish and it will be a waste of one of the more expensive plant-based milk alternatives that you can get. If you need to use coconut milk at all, you should limit it to its use in recipes.
With enough alterations outside of a cooking environment, you can probably alter the taste enough to get plain light coconut milk in a position where it tastes and feels somewhat similar to your usual coconut milk. In these cases, light coconut milk can be used as an alternative when you are looking for a healthier replacement to your morning glass of milk.
Outside of that morning glass of milk, it will be better for your kitchen and your patience to simply use the type of coconut milk that a specific recipe calls for, even if it has more fat in it than you would normally want to work with. Doing this will ensure that you will be more than happy with your coconut milk-based recipe.