Coconut milk is a favorite from Southeast Asia to the Caribbean, adding its rich, creamy texture and unmistakable flavor to everything from soups to cakes to cocktails. From traditional uses like curries to more unusual ones like a creamy take on the Bellini, these are some of our favorite recipes that feature coconut milk. For the best canned varieties, see chef Andy Ricker’s guide to buying coconut milk.
Thai Red Curry with Roasted Duck
For the best results when you’re making this sweet and spicy dish, ask the counterperson at your local Chinese market to cut the roasted duck into pieces. We recommend using the Mae Ploy brand of canned coconut milk; its high fat content makes for a rich and luxurious curry. See the recipe for Thai Red Curry with Roasted Duck »
Chef Pichet Ong, of Spot Dessert Bar in New York City, gave us this recipe for pok pok, an ice cream sandwich based on those he ate as a child in Bangkok. See the recipe for Pok Pok »
Dried hominy takes hours of cooking, but it yields a luscious porridge. This recipe comes from Kingston-based caterer Dian Watson.
This version of rundown, typically made with mackerel, was renamed by chef Yvonne Peters-Hope of Ashanti Oasis Vegetarian Restaurant, who gave us the recipe for this meat-free take on the savory breakfast stew.
How to make Sri Lankan hoppers »
Sombi (Coconut Rice Pudding)
More like a creamy porridge than a pudding in consistency, this sweet dish is commonly eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack in Senegal.
Green Curry Chicken
You can buy the green curry paste to make this Thai classic at any Asian market, but it’s so easy to make, and the results are so fragrant and flavorful, that it’s more than worth making from scratch.
Instead of searing the meat before cooking it in liquid, as is done with a Western-style braise, beef rendang reverses the process. Slowly simmering beef chuck with Indonesian spice paste, coconut milk, and lemongrass yields an amazingly tender, rich dish that’s great with both white rice or crusty bread. Get the recipe for Beef Rendang »
Steep it for Killer Custard and Ice Cream
Often used in southeast Asian curries and Indian rice dishes, pandan leaf lends a subtly exotic savory note to this coconut ice cream.
This cloudy, coconuty version of a bellini comes from Manhattan restaurant Lievito.