For many people who are lactose-intolerant, coconut milk is a great alternative. It’s delicious, it’s silky-smooth, and it does the job as well as regular milk would.
Although it is delicious, some people may be surprised to discover that their coconut milk has turned solid. So why exactly does this happen?
Solid Coconut Milk
People tend to end up with solid coconut milk when they leave it sitting out at room temperature. Canned coconut milk tends to separate, leaving the water at the top and the coconut cream at the bottom. Depending on what brand of coconut milk you get, some will have a thicker consistency than others.
How Is Coconut Milk Made?
Coconut milk is made by taking freshly shredded coconut and pressing down on it to get the liquid to come out. Many times, a bit of water will be added to make the consistency a little less thick.
Believe it or not, coconut milk is actually pretty simple to make on your own at home. To do this, you will need two cups of shredded unsweetened coconut. You will also need some water and a pinch of salt. If you prefer your milk to be on the sweeter side, you can always add a dash of maple syrup or even one date.
Once you have all of your ingredients together, blend them up to combine them. After about two minutes in the blender, the mixture should be ready to go. Make sure to do a taste test to figure out if your milk needs more sweetness or if more water needs to be added to make it less thick.
You will then want to strain the milk through either a mesh strainer or a cheesecloth. This is to get all of the remaining pulp out of the milk. When that’s done, you can store your milk in a bottle or jar and refrigerate.
Your homemade coconut milk will typically keep for about five days. Be sure to shake it up before using it since coconut milk can separate.
Benefits of Coconut Milk
As mentioned earlier, coconut milk is a great alternative to regular milk. Some people may prefer coconut milk over other milk alternatives, such as soy and almond milk, because it has a much better taste.
Even better, coconut milk has great health benefits, such as the ability to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, relieve constipation, help with your digestion, and more. Coconut milk is also full of electrolytes, which are great after a night of drinking.
Studies have found that coconut milk is also a great way to lose weight. This is thanks to the medium-chain triglycerides that stimulate weight loss through heat production. Those who consume coconut milk in the morning are also more likely to curb their appetite later in the day, meaning that they are eating less because they aren’t as hungry.
Contrary to what some people may think, coconut milk is also good for your heart. Many people think that because of the milk’s high fat content, it would prove otherwise. However, coconut milk produces HDL cholesterol that actually protects the heart by removing LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Lastly, coconut milk is also beneficial for boosting your immune system. This is all thanks to the lipid called lauric acid, which contains antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This type of lauric acid is able to stop certain bacteria from growing in the body. Best of all, coconut milk is high in vitamins such as iron, magnesium, Vitamin C, potassium, and calcium.
Risks of Coconut Milk
Too much of something is never a good thing, which is why you should be careful when using coconut milk. Although it is good for you, too much of it can have negative effects on your body.
Coconut milk is high in calories, which can lead to weight gain. Many people may also be allergic to coconut milk and not even know it. The best way to find out is by listening to your body. If you feel nauseated or itchy after drinking coconut milk, chances are that you have an allergy to coconuts and you should see a doctor right away.
Recipes Using Coconut Milk
Coconut milk can be used in a variety of dishes such as soups, sauces, desserts, and more. Thai Chicken Curry is one of the most popular recipes out there that uses coconut milk. In order to make this recipe, you will need coconut oil, coconut milk, onions, garlic, ginger, coriander, chicken breast, carrots, Thai red curry paste, spinach, lime juice, brown sugar, cilantro, and rice.
To start, you are going to want to add the coconut oil to your pan. Then take your chopped onions and place them in the pan with the oil. Add the chicken and let it cook for a bit before you go on to add the rest of your spices. After adding the garlic, ginger, and coriander, you will want to let the chicken sit for a few minutes before adding in the coconut milk, carrots, curry paste, and salt and pepper.
Lastly, be sure to add your spinach and lime juice to the mixture. When the spinach has been cooked all the way, the dish should be ready to serve over a bowl of rice. You will also want to use the cilantro as garnish.
Coconut milk is the ideal ingredient for vegans who have a sweet tooth as it can be used in place of milk when making creamy desserts. Coconut pudding is a favorite among many and is rather simple to make. For this recipe, you will need coconut milk, powdered sugar, corn starch, vanilla, and toasted coconut.
To make this, you are going to want to combine all of these ingredients in a saucepan and cook them over low heat. Then whisk continuously to get rid of any lumps that may appear in the mixture. You are going to want to continue cooking for about ten minutes, or until the mix turns thick.
You can also adjust the temperature on the saucepan so the mix doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan. After you have the desired consistency, place the pudding into ramekins to serve. Leave them in the fridge until they set. This should only be about an hour, and then they are ready to eat. Don’t forget to garnish with your toasted coconut or even some mint leaves!
As you can see, coconut milk is versatile and wonderful in more ways than one. When cooking with coconut milk, be sure that you don’t leave it out for too long as this could cause it to turn solid. Once you have opened up a can, it is vital to store it in the fridge so it doesn’t go bad.
If you want, you can also freeze your coconut milk in an ice tray so that it will keep longer. You can then defrost the ice cubes when you are ready to use your coconut milk again. This way, you are not wasting any milk. If you make it at home, be sure to keep the extra pulp as this can be used for baking too!