Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Light Coconut Milk

Price: $0.99 (14 Oz)
Features: Contains only coconut and water, no preservatives
Found in:
Curious places, often with the condiments on the shelf above the frozen foods

This is my favorite can of coconut milk - it is cheap and does not contain any preservatives. Many brands add preservatives which make for a somehow cooked or burnt taste, similar to that of homogenized milk. I'm not sure why preservatives are needed, since this Trader Joe's Coconut Milk has a 3+ year shelf life without them, and it tastes far better - like pure coconut milk! Imagine that.

I love to use coconut milk to make Thai curries and peanut sauce, or Indonesian yellow rice (in the photo I am in the process of making a spicy green curry full of fresh veggies). A good coconut milk based peanut sauce is amazing with just about anything, but I always end up pouring it over blanched greens to make Swimming Rama, or using the sauce for dipping skewered grilled meats (satay).

I have tried a number of other brands of coconut milk because my Trader Joe's was unable to get any of this in stock for what seemed like 6+ months, so I experimented among the twenty or so brands the crazy Asian grocery store near my house carries, none of which really satisfied.  Not sure what was going on there with the supply chain issues at TJ's, but thankfully it has come back, and seems to be in high demand again!

I believe Whole Foods has coconut milk under their 365 label which is preservative free, and about the same price, and they do have a version that is "regular" (not light). As my cooking instructor says, the only difference between regular and light coconut milk is that light is half water, so you can use one can of regular plus one can water and come out with two cans worth of light to save a few dollars if you find a regular strength brand you like. I found the Thai Kitchen brand to be tasty, but it is always about three times the cost of other brands, which does not please me in the least.

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