How to make a wild baked beef cake

Simply put, coconut milk is one of the most delicious và diverse ingredients in the world. Popular from Southeast Asia lớn India to lớn Africa, coconut milk is packed with rich creaminess & natural sweetness. As a bonus, coconut milk is also a great dairy substitute, easily replacing it in many recipes.

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So, what exactly is coconut milk? Not to lớn be mistaken with coconut water (the liquid that occurs naturally inside the coconut), coconut milk is created from the meat of a mature coconut (via Eater). Khổng lồ extract the milk, a coconut is cracked opened, scraped, & shredded. The meat is then added khổng lồ hot water to lớn soften before it"s finally squeezed lớn produce coconut milk.

Because coconut milk is so versatile, it"s equally delicious in both savory và sweet recipes. As an ingredient used in countless cultures, there are essentially an endless number of potential recipes using it, ranging from spicy marinades to lớn decadent desserts. Khổng lồ navigate this awesome ingredient, we"ve compiled the most helpful tips khổng lồ aid your cooking adventures with coconut milk.

One of the first things khổng lồ pay attention to lớn when cooking with coconut milk is to make sure you"re buying the right kind. Most commercially available coconut milk will be processed & homogenized for export. This means that many brands of coconut milk will often include ingredients like stabilizers and sweeteners (via Eater).

Because there"s a huge variety of coconut milk brands & places of origin, figuring out the right coconut milk for your recipe can be tricky. To navigate this, a great starting point is determining if you need sweetened or unsweetened coconut milk. All coconut milk will have a natural sweetness regardless of added sweeteners. Generally, most coconut milk recipes, especially the savory ones, will call for unsweetened coconut milk (via Kitchn). However, Eater also recommends unsweetened coconut milk for dessert recipes. The reason? One word — flexibility. Sugar can always be added lớn unsweetened coconut milk, while the sweetened version has an already determined amount.

Besides sweetened & unsweetened, coconut milk can also be broken down into three separate categories: light (lite), full-fat, và coconut cream (via Kitchn). The difference between light & full-fat coconut milk is akin to lớn the difference between nonfat & whole milk. Light coconut milk is coconut milk with most of the fat removed, leaving behind the pale, milky water. Eater doesn"t recommend using light coconut milk, as it lacks much of the patented natural coconut flavor. As a rule of thumb, full-fat coconut milk is the preferred ingredient for most recipes.

Lastly, there"s coconut cream. This coconut hàng hóa is thicker than coconut milk, the result of being made with less water. This ingredient is best used for desserts lượt thích puddings & pies. Pro tip: When looking for coconut cream, be careful not khổng lồ confuse it with another coconut cream product called "cream of coconut." Made by Coco Lopez, this Puerto Rican ingredient is very sweet & designed specifically for cocktails lượt thích piña coladas.

Unsurprisingly, the best kind of coconut milk will contain nothing but coconut và water, excluding added sugars and thickeners (via Eater). However, so many coconut milk brands in America make finding good chất lượng coconut milk a conundrum.

One difficult part of judging coconut milk brands is trying lớn deduce how rich the product is from the description on the can. According to Eater, while most coconut milk brands don"t typically disclose the ratio of coconut to lớn water, a great way lớn determine the richness is to lớn look at the listed fat và calories. Essentially, the higher the calories & fat, the richer the coconut milk.

For some chefs, there"s another coconut milk sản phẩm that"s superior lớn cans — cartons. As thai chef & cookbook tác giả Pailin Chongchitnant explained khổng lồ Eater, coconut milk in cartons is processed at higher heat for less time compared khổng lồ cans, ensuring a superior flavor.

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When you first xuất hiện a can of coconut milk, you"ll notice two separate layers — a thick vị trí cao nhất layer with the consistency of cream, & a thin, pale trắng liquid underneath it. This đứng đầu layer is the coconut cream, the source of the coconut"s flavor & fat (via Eater). This fatty later of the coconut milk is also the ingredient used to make coconut oil. Lớn make the oil, coconut cream is simmered until all the water is evaporated. The result? Pure, luscious coconut oil that"s healthy and delicious. 

To avoid this separation, shake the coconut milk can before you xuất hiện it lớn mix the two layers (via Kitchn). Or, once the can has been opened, simply stir everything with a spoon to properly emulsify (some coconut milk brands will use ingredients lượt thích stabilizers to lớn avoid this separation of the fat & water). Without this important step, it can be easy lớn accidentally use too much coconut cream or bland water for a dish, thus ruining the recipe.

As a dairy substitute, coconut milk is second to lớn none. Not only is it deliciously creamy, but coconut milk cans are also shelf-stable (via Martha Stewart). Và since it isn"t a dairy product, individuals with dairy or lactose intolerances can also enjoy dishes with that rich creaminess thanks to coconut milk. While desserts lượt thích flan are a great choice, coconut milk is also an excellent creamer for coffee & can even be made into whipped cream, The Guardian explains. 

Eater notes that coconut milk is often added lớn dishes in cuisines that use very little dairy (such as thai cuisine) to inject richness and fat. Laura Page of Martha Stewart also recommends using coconut milk for dishes ranging from mashed sweet potatoes to lớn creamed spinach. The natural nutty flavor of coconut milk will add a chất lượng flavor dimension khổng lồ these dishes, making them extra appealing.

One of the best things about coconut milk is its versatility. Simply put, coconut milk is one of those rare ingredients that"s equally delicious in both savory và sweet recipes. Are you looking to showroom some richness khổng lồ rice pilaf or need a dairy replacement for a flan recipe? Coconut milk is the answer.

The uses of coconut milk in savory preparations are endless. This is perfectly showcased by Food52, which uses the ingredient in recipes ranging from porridge lớn collard greens. But one especially popular dish for coconut milk is curry. A great khuyễn mãi giảm giá of Southeast Asian curries, such as Northern thai khao soi and Massaman curry, are heightened with the creamy richness of coconut milk (via Serious Eats).

In terms of desserts, coconut is peerless, something that"s especially apparent in Southeast Asian cuisines. For instance, take sangkhaya, a sweet coconut custard that"s eaten as a dip for white bread in Thailand. Because coconut milk is global, the diversity of desserts is immense, appearing everywhere from Latin American tres leches cake khổng lồ kaya, a custard-like jam in Malaysia and Singapore.

One preparation of coconut milk that"s often overlooked is the ingredient"s natural affinity to seafood. From stir fries lớn ceviche, coconut milk is used in a large variety of seafood recipes around the world. Many of these preparations, such as thai tom kha (coconut shrimp soup), will include chilies (via Food52). Brazilian chef Natalia Pereira tells Eater that this fiery addition to lớn seafood và coconut milk is a natural fit because "coconut milk can tolerate a lot of different spices & complexities of flavor, takes acid so well, & brings up the fruity nuances of everything it"s involved with."

Serious Eats explains that besides hearty seafood preparations like curry và stews, coconut milk can also be used as a poaching liquid for fish. The cooking process for this is elegantly simple — just lightly simmer a fish filet in an herbaceous coconut milk broth for half an hour & enjoy the delicious results. 

Coconut milk, while tantalizing cooked into stews or curries, is also phenomenal when incorporated in sauces, dips, & marinades. According to Serious Eats, their advice is to lớn cook coconut milk with red curry paste until thick before adding lime, ginger, honey, & fish sauce for a fragrant dipping sauce. For a sweet sauce, they recommend mixing coconut milk with condensed milk và glazing it on some grilled pineapple.

A classic use of coconut milk is incorporating it into marinades. This technique is most common in Southeast Asian satays, grilled meat skewers derived from Middle Eastern kebabs (via Saveur). In Thailand, coconut milk is added to the marinade for muu satay (pork), giving the meat a natural sweetness. Besides pork, grilled beef is also a great pairing for a coconut milk marinade. A great example of this is the Lao Isan beef satay with coconut milk marinade from Hawker Fare by James Shayabut (via Food52). Filled with powerful herbs lượt thích lemongrass, garlic, và shallots, the coconut milk in this recipe is a perfect example of the ingredient"s flexibility.

If you"re an avid baker, coconut milk is one ingredient you should always consider. As a dairy substitute, coconut milk can readily replicate milk and cream in countless types of baked goods. Or, it can also be combined with dairy lớn make classic baked desserts like coconut cream pie (via Martha Stewart). Because coconut milk is blessed with a distinct nutty flavor, any baked goods using coconut milk will benefit from this flavor infusion.

Of course, there are a lot more ways lớn use coconut milk in baking than coconut cream pie. Because coconut is more than just coconut milk, you can make cakes featuring all aspects of the fruit. A great example of this is the coconut key lime sheet cake from Epicurious, which features coconut milk, coconut oil, và shredded coconut meat. Pro tip: You can also use coconut milk khổng lồ replace other dairy substitutes like almond milk in recipes.

While it"s true that an unopened can or carton of coconut milk can last several months, the tricky part is keeping leftover coconut milk fresh. MasterClass notes that fresh coconut milk generally only lasts a few days in the refrigerator, even if stored in an airtight container.

According to lớn MasterClass, the best way to keep leftover coconut milk for longer periods of time is khổng lồ freeze it. You can accomplish this by either pouring coconut milk into plastic freezer bags or ice cube trays (for easier servings). However, a big issue with frozen coconut milk is that the texture will morph, becoming grainy và losing some of the natural coconut flavors. But there is a way to solve this issue — an immersion blender (via Cook"s Illustrated). As the frozen coconut milk blends, it will re-emulsify and taste nearly identical khổng lồ a freshly opened can of coconut milk.