Coconut milk and cream, what’s the difference and how to use them?

Coconut milk and cream, what's the difference and how to use them?

© Supplied per 750 grams

Very trendy, coconut milk and cream appeal to gourmets in search of exotic flavors. But what exactly are they and how do you best use them? We tell you everything!

Coconut milk

What is that ?

It is simply the pulp of coconut pressed and mixed with water (about 40%) to obtain a light and liquid texture that looks like milk. Be careful, however, it does not have the same nutritional properties at all (it does not contain calcium and very little protein, but more iron, magnesium or potassium).

What do I do with it?

Coconut milk goes well with meats and fish, including vegetables and desserts. Its mild and subtle flavor makes it a very popular ingredient in cooking, where it is used more like cream. Indispensable in exotic recipes, it is found in particular in currys indiens, fish ceviches, thai soups or blanc manger, an iconic dessert straight from the Antilles.

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But coconut milk is also suitable for Western cuisine and goes with almost everything! Think about it to marinate your fish and meats, to sweeten a soup, or to prepare a vegetable flan. In a sweet version, it works wonders. Cathleen Clarity, chef at L’Atelier des chefs suggests mixing it with strawberries, to prepare a gourmet milkshake, or to integrate it into a pancake batter, flan or panna cotta.

Coconut cream

It is made using the same process as coconut milk, with the difference that less water is added (around 10%). It is therefore denser and smoother than coconut milk (it can also be a little more expensive).

Coconut cream, what for?

As Cathleen explains, coconut milk and cream are interchangeable in many recipes. You just have to keep in mind that the cream is thicker and fatter, and that you sometimes have to combine coconut milk and cream with another vegetable milk or broth for example, because they can quickly become disgusting if they are poorly dosed.

Coconut cream is used in the same way as classic crème fraîche and is perfect for preparing curries: once the meat (chicken, lamb, for example) has returned, wet it with coconut cream, and the result is a curry that is both smooth and fragrant.

For dessert, it works wonders. Very cold, you can even whip it into whipped cream! Mousses, ice creams, ganaches, panna cotta or desserts, coconut cream is ideal for bringing a touch of originality and indulgence. To wow your guests, follow Cathleen’s advice: make a cheesecake with coconut cream and Philadephia, and sprinkle with grated coconut. Guaranteed success!

Thanks to Cathleen Clarity, from theChefs Workshop.


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