Sunday, February 3, 2013

Coconut Milk in Creamy Zucchini Gratin - Wheat Free

Coconut beverage (left) and Canned Coconut Milk (right)

I've had a couple of questions about coconut milk so thought I would do a quick post to clarify what  you should be looking for when shopping if you are trying a recipe with coconut milk. In the left hand side of the picture is coconut beverage (Coconut Dream) which comes in a carton. It is like milk - thinner consistency/less fat used more for drinking or where milk would normally be used in a recipe. So it would work good in smoothies. The coconut milk I would most likely be referring to in a recipe is full fat canned coconut milk - right hand side of picture. It is more like cream or sour cream.  It generally comes in a 400 ml can and can range in price from $2 to $4 per can. The only place I have seen "organic" coconut milk is the Native Forest Brand at Organza Market (here in Winnipeg). Its at the high end of the price range.  However, I think this is the only brand in North America to be organic and supposedly not have BPA in the can.

Did you know most canned goods  have BPA in the lining? Unfortunately all full fat cooking coconut milk available comes in cans so there is no way around it unless you get the organic Native Forest brand.  So you need to weigh the risks of using a non-organic brand with the many health benefits of coconut milk. These include, among other benefits: helps with weight management and appetite due to it being so high in fiber, is a good dairy-free alternative for those with lactose intolerance, helps control blood sugar and is easier to digest than cow's milk .

You can also get "light" canned coconut milk which has less fat, but we aren't scared of fat so no need to go light.

I posted twice today so make sure you also check out my other post on the "Week in Review".

Here's another recipe that uses canned coconut milk.

Creamy wheat-free zucchini gratin!
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 small onion, finely chopped
4 small young zucchini sliced - I get mine at Costco
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
pepper to taste
ground nutmeg - just a couple pinches
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp arrowroot powder as thickener
1 tbsp ground golden flax
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese - divided

Fry garlic and onion in butter over medium heat in a saucepan until softened. Add zucchini, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and fry until tender crisp - about 10 minutes. Turn occasionally.  Mix coconut milk and arrowroot powder together thoroughly before adding to saucepan.  If you don't have arrowroot you can also thicken with coconut flour. Add coconut milk and arrowroot mixture to zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes until thickened. Mix in half the Parmesan cheese. Transfer the zucchini to a small greased (with coconut oil, olive oil or butter) casserole and top with remaining Parmesan and flax. Put in the oven under broiler for a couple of minutes. Done. I think next time I might also top with a bit of Mozzarella cheese. 

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