For a taste of the tropics, add coconut milk or cream to curries, puddings, laksas and stews. The lactose-free liquid is rich, creamy and filled with nutritious perks. If you use your whole tin, use it wisely and if you have a little leftover then here are a few extra creamy ways to maximise your coconut fix.
1. Tip it
Into your pumpkin or vegetable soup or in your sauce - like in this kofta version. Your coconut sweet spot will thank you if you add it to your next batch of caramel sauce or in your pancake batter - you won't be sorry.
2. Whip it
Use a full-fat and good quality coconut milk and you'll have a vegan-friendly whipped cream version in no time.
For the whipped coconut cream, refrigerate 2 x 400 ml (13½ oz) tins full-fat coconut milk overnight. Carefully scoop the solidified part of the refrigerated coconut milk from the tins into a large mixing bowl. Discard or set aside the watery contents at the bottom of the tins. Add 1 tablespoon each of maple syrup and vanilla extract to the bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium for 3–4 minutes until the cream is fluffy and holds soft peaks. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container. This whipped coconut cream will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week – beat for 2 minutes or until creamy before using.
Dollop on your fruit salad, top your cake or your milkshake!
3. Pour it
1 cup of milk over your pan-fried fish or ½ cup drizzled over brownies thanks to this killer date swirl.
4. Reduce it
Reduce your coconut milk down to make a more dairy-free condensed milk version for your baked or no-bake desserts or sweet glazes and drizzles - even your Vietnamese coffee! Simmer coconut milk with a little sugar to taste for 45 minutes or until thick and reduced by half (stirring occasionally).
5. Freeze it
Both your dairy-free pals and ice-cream friends will love you forever. Whether you prefer an instant ice-cream made from frozen bananas or a more refreshing granita of rum and coconut - you can make them both and have them handy for when you need an after-dinner sweet hit.
If you want to take a step back, then fill an ice cube tray with your coconut milk, freeze it into cubes and then blend your coconut ice cubes with rum and pineapple juice to tap into those piña colada weekend feels.
6. Soak it up
Whether you prefer a savoury sidekick or a sweet finisher, soak your oast or rice in coconut milk and let the soft and creamy finish do all the talking.
Rinse rice under cold running water, then combine in a bowl with turmeric and enough water to cover. Soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain rice, then place in a steamer lined with muslin or a clean tea towel. Add pandanus leaves, cover tightly, then place the steamer over a saucepan of simmering water and cook for 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Transfer to a bowl, discarding leaves. Using a large metal spoon, stir in coconut milk and a pinch of salt.
Place the rice, coconut milk and palm sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat for 15 minutes or until thick and creamy and the rice is still a little al dente. Pour the rice into a small tray or flat container lined with plastic wrap and press evenly to make a flat surface. Stand until cool, then refrigerate for 30 minutes or until just set.
If you like a mix sweet and salty flavours, you will adore this highly addictive dessert. Inspired by the tropical beaches of the Caribbean, this adults-only sorbet combines the sweet, spiced taste of a rum-coconut cocktail topped with the salty crunch of candied peanuts.