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Coconut Milk – The Cream of the Crop

If you look at what’s trending right now in health circles, you will probably come across the milk of this sturdy, brown, hairy fruit -the Coconut. Yes, in today’s world, coconut milk is the cream of the crop, as far as health benefits are concerned. People in the tropics have known this for years, but it has only more recently been discovered by North Americans as we come to understand the benefits of the humble coconut.

WHAT IS COCONUT MILK?

If you think that coconut milk is the liquid that pours out of a cut coconut, you would be wrong. While it is tasty and has its own benefits, that is coconut water. In actual fact, coconut milk is derived from the meat of the coconut itself. It is widely found in health food stores and in the ethnic section of many grocery stores.

COCONUT MILK BENEFITS AND NUTRITION

Why should you care about coconut milk at all though, you wonder? Well, there are so many reasons, it is hard to list them all. The benefits of coconut milk range from internal benefits like boosting your immune system and helping to eradicate mouth ulcers, to the external benefits of moisturizing dry skin and making hair shine.

As far as nutrition goes, coconut milk is high in calcium, potassium and chloride. You will find Omega 3s, protein and fiber in this sweet liquid as well. It is a source of saturated fat, but of the medium-chain fatty acid variety of lauric acid, which digests quickly, thereby aiding in weight loss. And for those that are lactose intolerant, rejoice as coconut milk is lactose free, therefore a safe “milk” alternative for most recipes. Vegans can also dive in to this soy-, nut- and gluten-free alternative.

Note that coconut milk is high in calories though, so use it sparingly. One tablespoon is equivalent to 120 calories, but the good news is  that you only need to ingest a small amount to gain the benefits of all that coconut milk has to offer.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN COCONUT MILK

While coconut milk is readily available in the form of canned milk, you can also prepare coconut milk at home. Home-made coconut milk has higher nutritional benefits, so well worth the effort, if you are so inclined. You will need to purchase a fresh coconut, then follow the directions below.

INSTRUCTIONS
– Pierce the eyes of a fresh coconut, drain the liquid inside
– Place the coconut on a rack and bake in a 325F pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes
– Remove the coconut from the oven, let it cool a bit
– Then crack it with a hammer so that the shell breaks into several pieces
– Remove all the coconut meat from the shell, peel off the brown skin and cut the meat into very small cubes
– Place the meat in a blender, add hot water to just cover all of the meat and blend until finely grated.
– Place a sieve covered with cheese cloth over a bowl and pour the coconut meat and water into the sieve squeezing handfuls of the coconut meat to extract as much liquid as possible into the bowl.
– Discard the squeezed coconut meat and refrigerate the coconut milk that has been extracted into the bowl. Refrigerate the milk and use within 1 or 2 days.

COCONUT MILK RECIPES

 

Brazilian Chicken with Coconut Milk


INGREDIENTS
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 bunch chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS
– In a medium bowl, mix the cumin, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and coriander.
– Place the chicken in the bowl, season with salt and pepper, and rub on all sides with the spice mixture.
– Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
– Place the chicken in the skillet.
– Cook 10 to 15 minutes on each side, until no longer pink and juices run clear.
– Remove from heat and set aside.
– Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet.
– Cook and stir the onion, ginger, jalapeno peppers, and garlic 5 minutes, or until tender.
– Mix in the tomatoes and continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes.
– Stir in the coconut milk.
– Serve over the chicken.
– Garnish with the parsley.

Coconut Curry Fish Fillets

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
1 sweet red pepper, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced gingerroot
1 tbsp mild curry paste
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1 lb  skinless firm-fleshed fish fillets
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp grated lime rind
2 tbsp lime juice
3/4 tsp salt
1 lime, cut in wedges

DIRECTIONS
– In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; fry onion, red pepper, garlic, ginger and curry paste, stirring, until pepper is softened, about 5 minutes.
– Add coconut milk, stirring and scraping up any brown bits on bottom of pan; bring to boil.
– Cut fish fillets into 3-inch pieces; add to pan.
– Reduce heat, cover and simmer until fish flakes easily when tested, about 6 minutes.
– Using slotted spoon, transfer fish to platter; keep warm.
– In small bowl, stir cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water.
– Stir into pan and bring to boil; boil until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 1 minute.
– Stir in coriander, lime rind and juice, and salt.
– Pour over fish; serve with lime wedges.

Spicy Coconut Custard


INGREDIENTS
280 ml Premium Coconut Milk
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons whole cloves
300 ml cream
250 ml water
½ cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS
– Preheat the oven to 160 ° C.
– Place spices, cream and water in a pan.
– Bring to simmering, reduce heat and leave for 5 minutes to allow the spices to flavor the liquid.
– Add sugar and coconut milk to the pan, return to low heat until sugar has dissolved.
– Whisk the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl and pour the spiced mixture over the eggs; stir to combine.
– Pour the custard mixture into ½ cup dishes.
– Place in a baking dish; pour in hot water to come halfway up the sides.
– Bake for 40-45 minutes.
– Insert a knife in the center of one of the custards, the mixture should be only slightly wobbly.
– Serve hot or chilled.

We love to nourish your body here at Premier Fitness Camp in Utah. We recently won Best of Utah for Fitness Camps and we believe it is because we are committed to your success from all angles. You mind, body, and soul!

SOURCES
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/brazilian-chicken-with-coconut-milk/Detail.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_milk
http://coconutmilknutrition.com/
http://www.ehow.com/about_5435099_coconut-milk-nutrition-information.html
http://www.coconut-connections.com/coconut_milk.htm
http://www.tiana-coconut.com/spicy_custard.htm

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