Friday, June 3, 2011

Know Your Coconut Milk.

Coconut milk is a staple ingredient in South East Asian countries, it is also commonly used in places like Brazil, the Caribbean Islands, India and Polynesia. Coconut milk is extracted from mature coconuts. The white inner layer of the husk is grated then either pressed through a machine or squeezed out by hand.

There are two types of coconut milk (santan) that is squeezed out from grated coconut; (1) thin coconut milk which is usually used in more lighter broth like stews or soups like tom yam gong and (2) coconut cream that is thick in consistency commonly used in thicker gravy dishes like curry, dhal and masak lemak or even desserts. You can also combine both of the choices together in 1 main dish, instead of using water with the creamier choice. To make thinner consistency, water is added to the grated coconut and the process is repeated several times more.

In Malaysia, we are lucky to still have the option of purchasing freshly squeezed coconut milk from places like Chow Kit market or at our local kedai runcit/sundry shops. But if you are in areas that do not have sundry stores that provide freshly squeezed santan, you can use the ones available in cans and boxes. If you need a more lighter version, just add water and stir. 

Does your coconut cream curdle when poured into a hot pot on the stove?

Trust me, I had to go through at least 10 tries before I managed to get my santan perfect in my pot. If your cooking something that requires santan in the recipe, be sure to lower down the heat and be ready to continuously stir as soon as you pour the santan in. When the water is boiling hot and you just forget to stir, it will start to break the santan, producing small little white specs. Basically the milk separates from its oil content leaving only water. If this happens, you will not get that creamy texture to your dish. 

Coconut milk or santan like any other ingredients has its advantages and disadvantages. It has a list of medicinal functions. According to coconut research center, it is used in traditional medicines for ailments such as scurvy, bronchitis, stomach ulcers and so on. In modern medicine, it is said to prevent osteoporosis.  However, we must also watch our intake of this creamy substance; having too much can be hazardous to the heart. 

1 comment:

  1. Coconut milk is a staple ingredient in South East Asian countries, it is also commonly used in places like Brazil...benefits of coconut water


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