I’ve always been a fan of milk, the regular cow kind, but lately I’ve been trying to branch out. Soy milk, rice milk, you name it. So when I posted the recipe for Red Curry Shrimp on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ Recipe of the Week blog, I decided to give Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk a whirl.
Coconut milk is thicker than traditional milk, so while I wouldn’t recommend it over cereal, it’s perfect for adding a creamy texture to curry and other sauces. Plus, it’s dairy-free – an easy alternative for those who avoid casein or lactose.
As I started the curry recipe, I was skeptical that it would take less than a half hour to prepare. Thai cooking, I’ve heard, is hard. Surely it would require hours of simmering, no? Well, 30 minutes later, I was ladling a delicious salmon-colored curry over a bowl of rice. The coconut milk gave the dish a rich flavor and a hint of sweetness, while the curry paste added a kick of spice. (I spooned in an extra dollop of paste while the curry was simmering, but I like my Thai food hot.)
Coming off this victory, I felt strangely confident. So much so, I decided to make a dessert using coconut milk – without a recipe. I usually don’t experiment in the kitchen, and when I do, the result usually isn’t good. But we’re currently hosting a Recipe Contest at NFCA, so I felt inspired to get creative. I simmered a can of coconut milk with a teaspoon of vanilla, a few shakes of nutmeg and a teaspoon of cinnamon. The liquid needed a bit more sweetness, so I added 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar. After a few minutes, I added about 1-1/2 cups of leftover rice and cooked it down until the liquid was mostly absorbed. Finally, the pièce de résistance: 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree went into the mix.
Yes, I created pumpkin rice pudding—and it was good. So good I wish I could have entered it in our contest. But let this be a lesson: If I can do it, you can too. Let your imagination run wild, and do it with coconut milk.
Need more inspiration? Watch how the Renegade Chef made gluten-free, dairy-free ice cream and flan by swapping in coconut milk (Look for the “Alternative Appetites” videos). Give his recipes a try, then tell us how you use Thai Kitchen products in your original gluten-free recipe.