How to thicken coconut milk

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Coconut milk is the liquid from blended coconut flesh and water. It is naturally thick, creamy, and a perfect addition to your soup and milkshakes. However, coconut milk can get watery at times and probably mess up your recipe. I know you wouldn’t want to ruin a perfect recipe.

So, do you understand how to thicken coconut milk? There are several ways to thicken your coconut milk, like using thickeners like coconut flour, milk, cornstarch, and reducing the milk on heat. So, without wasting more time, let us dig deeper into how to thicken coconut milk!

What is coconut milk?

As mentioned above, coconut milk is the liquid formed from blending the flesh of a coconut and water. Coconut milk comes canned and can be used in baking and cooking alike. It is famously used in India, South America, Hawaii, Caribbean countries, and South east Asia.

Coconut milk is not the same as coconut water found in immature coconuts. These two differ because coconut water occurs naturally in the coconut while coconut milk is processed from the white coconut meat mixed with water.

How to thicken coconut milk step by step

Coconut milk can either be thick or thin. Blended coconut flesh and water are strained on cheesecloth to achieve a thick milk consistency.  Thinner coconut milk is achieved by simmering the blended coconut remains on the cheesecloth and simmering. The coconut milk is then strained, and this time, produced thin.

So it’s pretty simple making some coconut milk at home and, to the thickness of your liking. But sometimes, a thing or two goes wrong. So, if your coconut milk turned out thinner than expected, you can check out these ways to make it thicker.

1. Thicken coconut milk using cornstarch

Cornstarch is a famous thickening agent with a fine and silky texture. It is also gluten-free, and you should know that it might affect the flavor of your coconut milk. This is because coconut milk absorbs the corn flavor in cornstarch. The flavor can, however, be masked by making a cornstarch slurry.

  1. Make a slurry by mixing cornstarch and water and combine well.
  2. Place a saucepan on a heat source, add your coconut milk,and simmer on low heat.
  3. Add the slurry into the coconut milk and stir the mixture.
  4. You will notice the mixture thickening after 2 minutes, and once the desired thickness is achieved, you can turn off the heat.

2. Thickening coconut milk using coconut flour

Coconut flour is made from coconut milk.The flour is made by grinding coconut meat. It is the best thickener to maintain the coconut flavor.

  1. Pour coconut milk into a saucepan and heat on low.
  2. Combine coconut flour and water in a separate bowl.
  3. After combining well, add the mixture into the coconut milk while stirring on medium heat.
  4. Keep stirring, so the milk doesn’t curdle.
  5. Turn off the heat when the mixture attains the desired consistency.

3. Thickening coconut milk by reducing it

This is the simplest method of all.Though simple, it requires patience because coconut milk thickens as water evaporates from it. This thickening method enriches the coconut flavor.

  1. Add your coconut milk into a saucepan and place it on the stove.
  2. Simmer the coconut milk on low heat, without covering, so the water evaporates. As water evaporates, the milk thickens.
  3. Leave the coconut milk to simmer or boil low until it achieves the desired consistency. Be attentive so that all water doesn’t evaporate.

4. Thickening coconut milk with mashed potatoes

Do you want to make the coconut milk sweeter and thicker? Adding a potato mixture into reduced coconut milk will help you achieve that. So, all you will need to do is:

  1. Boil some water in a pan and peel some potatoes-2 can do.The number of potatoes you add depends on how much reduced coconut milk you have.
  2. Add potatoes into the pan to boil. Once the potato is ready, mash with the water to make a slurry.
  3. Then, you can add the potato mixture into the coconut milk to thicken it. This also increases the volume of your coconut milk.

5. Thicken coconut milk using all-purpose flour

All-purpose flour is another excellent thickening agent. To use it in thickening your coconut milk, you will:

  1. Add cornstarch into a bowl and add in some water.
  1. Mix the all-purpose flour and water to make a slurry.
  2. Add the slurry into the coconut milk till you get the desired consistency.

How to thicken coconut milk into cream

Coconut cream is sweet and can be added to desserts or served as an accompaniment. This cream is quite similar to coconut milk which is creamy but with more liquid. On the other hand, the cream has less water and a thicker, paste-likeconsistency. So here is how to thicken coconut milk into cream without tampering with its flavor.

  1. First, chill a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight to curdle the fats.
  2. The curdled milk will have fats that you should scrap and put in a separate bowl. The clear coconut water can be used for something else, so preserve it.
  3. With the thickened coconut milk separate from the clear liquid, whisk the milk until it gets creamy.

Coconut cream is quite different from the cream of coconut- a sweetened blend of coconut flesh, sugar, and water. Coconut cream has a mild and not-so-sweet taste and can be added to salty and sweet flavors. Try adding coconut cream in:

  • Coffee
  • Protein shakes
  • Oatmeal and other cereals
  • Pour some over berries or papaya slices.

How to thicken light coconut milk

You can thicken light coconut milk with cornstarch. Just add it in earlier so that its flavor can cook out of your sauce. Adding some low-fat yogurt into the milk is another perfect idea that won’t tamper with the taste of your coconut milk.Both coconut milk and yogurt have the same profile flavor.

Reducing the liquid in light coconut milk can also do. So follow the guide we discussed earlier in the article to evaporate some coconut milk liquid to thicken it.

How to thicken coconut milk sauce?

A watery coconut milk sauce is no fun, but it all depends on one’s preference; some love it thin while others love it thick. So if you tried making some thick coconut milk sauce and it turned out watery, I got you covered!

Some great ways you can thicken the sauce is by simmering under a low flame, using coconut flour, some coconut cream, or grated coconut flesh. Note that the coconut-based thickeners can make the coconut taste stronger. So if you don’t want that, you can use other flours like rice, cassava or wheat.

If you do not want to tamper with the taste of your sauce, just reduce it under low heat. Not only will the sauce thicken, but it will also concentrate flavors. The other way you can incorporate is by using a roux. Roux is a mixture of flour and fats, famous for thickening sauces, gravies, stews, and soups.

In this case, use either coconut flour or cornstarch and fats like lard, butter, or bacon drippings. Then measure equal portions of flour and fat. Add fat to the pan, heat on low, and then add the flour. After that, mix the flour-fat and cook it till it achieves a smooth brown color. You can opt for a whiter roux, depending on your preference.

Turn off the heat and add the roux into your sauce while stirring.

How to use coconut milk

There are tons of ways you can use coconut milk. Its versatility makes it a great alternative to milk. It goes without saying that you will enjoy tons of health benefits from consuming it. So how can you use that coconut milk can in your pantry?

  • Smoothies

Running the coconut milk in the blender with fresh fruit of your choice gives you the best-tasting smoothie. You can include berriesand a sweetener like honey andsqueeze some lemon juice into it.

  • Soups

Add some coconut milk to your butternut squash and lentil soup. It especially tastes good in broccoli and carrot soups with chopped lemongrass stalk.

  • Curries

Coconut milk flavor comforts fragrant fish, vegetables, and meat stews. So the next time you prepare a delicious fish curry, toss in some little coconut milk, and you will enjoy it.

  • Ice cream

Make some ice cream by tossing an overripe frozen banana, berries, and coconut milk into a food processor and blending.

  • Cocktails

Did you know that coconut milk gives your drinks an exotic and sweet taste? Squeeze in some lemon juice to boost the richness. The thinner milk left at the bottom of your can is the best to use.

  • Coconut whipped cream

Make some coconut whipped cream for your crepes and cakes. Ensure you refrigerate the coconut milk overnight in an upside-down position and scoop the cream that solidifies at the top of the can. Do not forget to add in some sugar and whisk it till it gets smooth.

  • Yogurt

Make some coconut milk yogurt in the comfort of your home. The good thing is that you get to enjoy cheap yogurt and save a few bucks that you would otherwise have purchased yogurt with for other uses.

  • Coconut latte

Make the best coconut latte by mixing freshly brewed coffee with coconut milk or cream. You will love how these two flavors complement each other. Use a blender to make a nice layer of foam on top of the latte.

  • Dairy substitute

If you are sensitive to dairy, coconut milk makes the best substitute. The only difference it brings to your baked food or dish is the coconut flavor.

Frequently asked questions(FAQS)

Is canned coconut milk healthy

Yes! Canned coconut milk is healthy. A cup has the daily recommended value of magnesium, iron, potassium, and zinc. Coconut milk is also rich in healthy medium-chain triglycerides fats that aid in weight loss. These fats suppress your appetite and increase your energy.

Is there milk inside a coconut?

Not really. What is inside the coconut is coconut water that naturally occurs in it. Coconut water is quite different from coconut milk blended from grated coconut and water.

How much milk is in a coconut?

One large coconut has around a pound of coconut meat. When grated, the coconut meat produces 5 cups of coconut, which can make ½ cup coconut milk.

Where can I buy full-fat coconut milk?

You can buy full-fat coconut milk in your nearest stores or online stores like Amazon. An example you can check outis Fiesta Tropical full-fat coconut milk brand.

Final words

Thickening coconut milk is relatively easy! With the above methods on thickening it, you are guaranteed that you won’t end up tossing your coconut milk away simply because it turned out runny than expected. Try out some of the thickening agents mentioned in this post and choose one that works for you.

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