Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Meet your new favorite all-purpose pantry staple -- Amanda Maguire of Pickles and Honey is giving us a primer on coconut milk.
Coconut milk is cropping up in everything from non-dairy ice creams and yogurts to soups and stews -- and for good reason: It is creamy, delicious, versatile, and -- bonus -- full of vitamins and minerals.
More: If you're feeling ambitious, try making your own.
There are a few different kinds of coconut milk, including the kind you find in cartons (typically found near the refrigerated soy and almond milks) and the kind you find in cans (usually located in the Thai aisle of the grocery store). All are made by blending the meat of mature coconuts with water, but each varies in richness. The lightest coconut milk is found in cartons, followed by light canned coconut milk, full-fat canned coconut milk, and finally, canned coconut cream -- which has the highest ratio of coconut meat to water, and the thickest texture.
I save the lighter, refrigerated cartons as a replacement for dairy milk in cereals and smoothies, but when it comes to using coconut milk in recipes, I prefer the extra-creamy texture of the full-fat variety -- I always keep at least one can in my pantry, and you should, too.
So pick up a few cans at the store -- here are some of the best ways to use them:
More: Coconut milk is also the key ingredient in our favorite Tres Leches Cake.
4 cups full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup millet
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 handfuls chopped raw almonds
4 handfuls fresh berries
Whipped cream photo by Laura Wright | The First Mess; pudding photo by Alpha Smoot; all others by James Ransom
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).Order now