Coconut milk can taste like coconut, but this isn't always the case.
An increasing number of my clients are making the switch to plant-based milks and coconut milk is often the top choice. This is why I get asked quite often does coconut milk taste like coconut. Well, since there are now more types of coconut milk than before, this isn't an easy question to answer.
In the following post, I will break down just what coconut milk tastes like as well as take you through the different types of coconut milk. Thus, you will be able to gain a greater understanding of just what to expect, flavor-wise.
As stated, coconut milk can absolutely taste like coconut. This is because the milk is made from shredded coconut being immersed in water. The coconut is then squeezed out – the liquid that you get is the coconut milk.
If you were to describe coconut milk, the words nutty and creamy would come to mind. However, you should be aware that the flavor is quite unique. In many cases, the milk has a sweet undertone, but this isn't overpowering.
This all depends on how the coconut milk is made. Full-fat coconut milk is the liquid that is produced from the first round of extraction. Here, the milk has a higher fat content and the flavor isn't diluted at all. As such, you will typically find this kind of milk to have a stronger flavor.
In some instances, the same batch of shredded coconut is immersed in water over and over again, extracting coconut milk every time. After the first extraction, the coconut flavor will not be as strong. And, it will weaken with every additional extraction. This is considered to be lite or light coconut milk.
These days, you will also find refrigerated coconut milk in cartons. These are meant to be an alternative to dairy milk. This kind of coconut milk isn't used in cooking, but rather added to cereal and coffee.
Now, the flavor of this coconut milk can be very different to the cooking kind. This is largely because the milk has been watered down quite a bit. You may also find other ingredients such as flavors and sweeteners. Thus, the flavor profile may be altered a great deal.
In general, this kind of coconut milk has a lighter flavor and is sweeter. When flavors such as vanilla and chocolate are added, the taste of these ingredients can overpower the natural coconut taste as well.
You should also be mindful of the fact that the flavor can vary from one brand to another. Due to this, it can be difficult to narrow down a single flavor profile for this type of milk.
What if you like the idea of drinking coconut milk but aren't crazy about the flavor. Well, there are som hacks that you can turn to in this case:
Some cooks will add baking soda to their coconut milk. This is because they believe that it will balance out the lauric acid in the coconut milk.
Now, this can be tricky to get right as baking soda doesn’t taste good at all. Therefore, you have to add the least possible amount to remove the coconut flavor without letting the baking soda taste come through.
Start by adding a tiny pinch of baking soda to a cup of coconut milk. Stir it in well and combine thoroughly. Taste the mix. If you aren't happy with the flavor, then add another small pinch and then mix really well again. Continue to do this until you are happy with the results.
Another handy trick can be to use flavors that will overpower the coconut milk one. The top options here tend to be vanilla, almond, chocolate, etc. Of course, you can experiment with various flavors to find out which one works best for you.
You should avoid using flavors that will not work well with coconut, though. Otherwise, you may end up with a rather unpalatable dish or drink.
If you are adding coconut milk to curries or as an alternative to dairy milk, then you may not like the fact that coconut milk can be sweet. In this case, you need to cut through the sweetness with something sour.
Lemon juice is a top choice because it is added to numerous dishes. Not to mention, it has a brightening effect on any food that you are cooking. As such, it will blend in well. Still, add in little by little to make sure that the flavors balance out.
Naturally, this isn't a good hack if you want coconut milk for coffee or cereal. And, in some cases, the taste of the lemon juice can overpower the rest of the flavors if you aren't careful.
As mentioned, the flavor can vary quite a bit from one brand to another. Therefore, your issue may be with a particular brand and not the coconut flavor necessarily. Testing out various brands could allow you to find the one that is better suited to your particular palate.
You can even try making your own coconut milk at home. This will often give you a bit more control over the strength of the flavor. Thus, you can opt for a more diluted flavor if you like.
As you can see, coconut milk can taste like coconut. If the drink is watered down or other flavors are added, though, the taste may be altered accordingly. And, if you aren't too fond of coconut flavor, there are a few ways to overcome this issue.
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