Spending most of your time cooking at home? One of the most common and widely-used ingredients typically found in most kitchens would be a can or packet of store-bought coconut milk. Coconut milk is, of course, popular for dishes like curries, sauces and desserts. But what if one day you’re testing out a new recipe that requires coconut milk, and realise you are running out of it? Or perhaps you are allergic to coconut milk? Not to worry, though. Here are the 7 Best & Delicious Substitutes For Coconut Milk.
1) Almond Milk
Did you know that almond milk can be used as one of the substitutes for coconut milk, say in curries or hot beverages? It may sound unconventional, especially if you are thinking of using it for your curry recipe. Sure, substituting with almond milk itself isn’t going to cut it since its thin consistency and low-fat content certainly lacks the same creaminess found in coconut milk. Fortunately, you can thicken it by adding a teaspoon of cornstarch. Also, remember to use unsweetened almond milk if possible and if you insist on retaining the coconut flavour, consider adding some coconut oil.
2) Cashew Milk
Here’s another nut-based milk alternative to coconut milk you can try here. But unlike the almond varieties, cashew milk is creamier and smoother by comparison. While it contains low calories and protein, cashew milk has more fat, making it ideal for the likes of soups, sauces and hot beverages. But if you plan to use cashew milk as a substitute for coconut milk in curries, remember to add cornstarch to make it thick and concentrated.
3) Evaporated Milk
The word “creamy” best describes evaporated milk, thanks to its aforementioned consistency from the heating process of regular milk that evaporates up to 60% of its water content. Great for creamy dishes or soups, you can use evaporated milk as a substitute for coconut milk at a 1:1 ratio. Also, if you want to have the coconut flavour intact, try searching for coconut-flavoured evaporated milk.
4) Greek Yogurt
For any recipes that require an ingredient with a thick consistency, Greek yoghurt would be a great choice. It works well as the next-best alternative to coconut milk, where you can use it in curries, soups or Asian dishes. The result helps to give your cooking added body and creaminess. But be warned, though: Use Greek yoghurt wisely since it’s considerably tangier than coconut milk. And if it’s too thick, you can add in some water to dilute it to your preferred consistency. Another thing to take note about using Greek yoghurt for cooking, always make sure to stir it into your dish and let it warm. If you leave the yoghurt in a boiling state, it will end up curdling your dish.
5) Silken Tofu
Weight watchers might want to consider substituting coconut milk with silken tofu, given its lower calories and fat content. Silken tofu contains high water content, making it suitable to be pureed and have it mixed with equal parts of soy milk at 1:1 ratio. This gives the pureed or blended silken tofu both creamy and smooth liquid consistency. You can use it for recipes like soups, sauces, smoothies as well as chocolate or fruit-based desserts.
6) Sour Cream
No coconut milk to be used for your thick chicken curry? Well, try sour cream as an alternative since it works well as both substitute and thickening agent. But keep in mind that sour cream is distinct and sweeter in taste, so use it wisely to avoid overpowering your curry dish. Other than curries, you can also use sour cream for cake and cookie recipes. While sour cream can be easily bought online or supermarket, try making it your own for a change. And yes, it’s easy too. All you need is 3 ingredients: 1/4 cup of milk, 3/4 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar and 1 cup of heavy cream. Combine both milk and vinegar and let them sit for 10 minutes. Then, pour the heavy cream into a glass jar and stir in the mixture. Cover it with a lid and allow it to sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Remember to chill the jar before using your homemade sour cream.
7) Soy Milk
Believe it or not, soy milk turns out to be an ideal substitute for coconut milk. It happens to be non-dairy milk too, making it suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Not to mention it contains less saturated fat and is rich in many nutrients such as calcium and protein. However, soy milk’s thin consistency is the biggest downside here but don’t let that discourage you from using it as a substitute. Simply add a teaspoon of cornstarch or corn flour into the soy milk since it acts as a thickening agent. Also, remember to use unsweetened soy milk for your recipe since the usual varieties might alter the initial flavour of the dish. Adding some coconut oil to the soy milk helps to bring both coconut richness and flavour to your dish, say curries. A word of warning, though: skip using soy milk for coffees or any dishes that require high heat since it tends to curdle.