It is possible to make your own coconut milk but it is time-consuming and fiddly. The convenience of buying coconut milk in a can is one of the benefits, particularly for a busy restaurant or café. But is coconut milk in a can good for you? We look at the benefits of canned coconut milk and what you can use this versatile ingredient for.
Did you know that canned coconut milk is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals? It has other qualities, too. Here is the low-down on canned coconut milk.
What is Coconut Milk?
Coconut milk in a can is not the same as the coconut milk you get directly from the nut. When you crack open the coconut, you find white flesh and a liquid called the milk. But the coconut milk from a can is produced by soaking pieces of grated coconut flesh in water and then straining to produce the milky liquid. Coconut milk in cans is used frequently in Asian recipes but it is also increasingly popular in other dishes as a non-dairy milk alternative. Canned coconut milk contains magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron. It also contains a healthy form of fat.
Fat in Coconut Milk: Is it Healthy?
Canned coconut milk is the same as other coconut milk in that it contains high levels of fat. Most of the fat is saturated fat. Eating a lot of coconut milk, canned or otherwise, provides high levels of saturated fat. But the type of fat in coconut milk does provide health benefits, too. Much of the saturated fat content of coconut milk is from medium-chain triglycerides, which the body digests like carbohydrates. As such, they are potentially not as harmful as other fats although they do contain calories.
Additional Health Benefits of Canned Coconut Milk
Coconut milk UK suppliers say that canned coconut milk provides high levels of iron. Iron is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and carrying oxygen through blood cells. Although it is a vital part of the diet, iron can be toxic if overconsumed so you shouldn’t use coconut milk to excess as a drink or ingredient.
How to Cook with Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is the essential ingredient for a creamy south-east Asian curry and it also used in stir-fries. It is combined with ingredients like soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, chilli, onions and ginger. It provides a milky base to a spicy dish. Canned coconut milk is also used with tomato paste in curries. Use the coconut milk sauce over beef, prawns, chicken, tofu or vegetables. It is also perfect in a sweet dish alongside blueberries, rice, and honey.
Coconut milk is just as healthy from a can as when it is made by hand in your kitchen. The time benefits you get from using this convenience food make it the natural choice for a restaurant. Be cautious of the fat content of coconut milk and use it in moderation to provide a smooth base for a flavoursome dish.