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Coconut Milk Alternatives?

Asked by rose22joh. Answered on 17th June 2011

Full question

There are a lot of recipes at the moment that seem to require coconut (milk or cream) but I'm allergic to it. What's a good alternative please? It's particularly frustrating for me when I want to do Asian-style cooking, but also cakes, biscuits etc. I've read about using regular dairy cream instead just means piling on the calories! Thanks

Our answer

We would not suggest replacing coconut milk in a recipe if a large quantity of milk is used as the milk adds some flavour, which would be lost, and the consistency of the dish could also be affected. Where coconut milk is used in smaller amounts in a savoury dish then it is possible to substitute a nut milk - providing you are not allergic to nuts - such as almond milk or cashew milk. Unsweetened almond milk should be available in natural or health food stores or it is possible to make your own almond or cashew milk (there are plenty of websites offering guidance on this).

For baking it is possible to substitute evaporated milk for coconut milk as they are similar in texture and sweetness, though again it is better if the amount of coconut milk is relatively small in the recipe as the flavour of the cake could be affected.

It is also worth mentioning that although coconut milk is lower in calories than dairy cream, it is high in saturated fat so may not be good for people with heart disease or high cholesterol.

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