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Coconut Cream

An Introduction
Coconut cream is nothing but the processed coconut milk extracted from mature coconuts. Coconut cream can be packed in tin containers with a shelf life of about six months, can be used in preparation of various culinary items and bakery products. It does not taste as sweet as the coconut milk, but it is higher in those healthy medium chain fatty acids and is very rich. it makes the food  so much richer and the sauces are much thicker.

How is Coconut Cream Made?
Coconut cream is a thick solution obtained by steeping or soaking shredded coconut in the coconut
water. Instead of water one may even use milk in order to make a richer product. It is meant to have a paste like consistence unlike coconut milk.  The coconut milk is refrigerated and allowed to set. Coconut cream is the thick non-liquid part that separates and rises to the top of the coconut milk.

Similar to coconut oil, it is firm at a lower room temperature. It is essentially coconut cream concentrate. And it can be cooked into coconut cream by blending it with water, or into coconut milk by combining it with a larger amount of water.

Availability of the Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is valuable in cans or packed forms in supermarkets. It must be chilled once unwrap. It must be keep in mind that it does not last more than a week after being unpacked. Also, one must over chilled coconut milk as this causes it to sour.

One can taste different makes of canned coconut milk to find the one to your penchant. Good quality products which have not been synthetically homogenized, will have solid cream perched on top of the can while the milk at the base will be watery.


Health Benefits of Coconut Cream
People tend to avoid coconut cream because of its high fat content. Especially those who want to lose weight. However, people are not aware of the fact that coconut cream is good saturated fat which can be easily metabolised and turned into energy fast. In other words, it does not transform into bad cholesterol which clogs up the arteries.

The standard fatty acid in coconut milk is lauric acid. It is the identical fat found in profusion in mother's milk. Lauric acid is renowned for promoting normal brain development and also helps in strong bones. Coconut cream has vital anti-carcinogenic and anti-pathogenic features which aids in preventing cancer. Coconut cream does not cause gain weight in comparison to other than polyunsaturated oils.

Coconut cream is also has important anti-carcinogenic and anti-pathogenic properties which helps to prevent cancer. More importantly, coconut cream is less likely to cause weight gain than polyunsaturated oils.
Coconut cream is widely used in curries, desserts and cakes. That's because it enhances the aroma and tastes of the dishes and can be obtained easily and cheaply.

  • Spiced Chicken with Coconut Cream and Rojak Salad
    • Ingredients
      • For the poussins
      • 2cm/1in piece fresh root ginger
      • 2cm/1in piece galangal (if galangal is not available, use double the quantity of fresh root ginger)
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 4 dried chillies, soaked in hot water to soften
      • 5 shallots, roughly chopped
      • 2 garlic cloves
      • 4 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed
      • 4 poussin or baby chickens
      • 300ml/10½fl oz coconut cream
      • 2 tsp sugar
      • 2 limes, juice only
      • For the dressing
      • 2 tbsp shrimp paste
      • 3 fresh red chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped
      • 4cm/1½in piece of fresh root ginger, grated
      • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp, mashed (available in Asian and Indian supermarkets)
      • 1 lime, juice only
      • 5 tbsp boiling water
      • 2 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
      • 3 tbsp caster sugar
      • For the rojak salad
      • ½ small cucumber, cut into triangular chunks
      • ¼ fresh pineapple, peeled, core removed, cut into cubes
      • 1 firm unripe mango, peeled, stone removed, cut into thin wedges
      • 1 firm unripe papaya, peeled, seeds removed, cut into strips
      • 1 Granny Smith apple, core removed, cut into thin wedges
      • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
      • ½ bunch fresh mint, leaves only, torn (plus extra to garnish)
      • 100g/3½oz roasted blanched peanuts, coarsely crushed
    • Method
      • Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and preheat a large griddle pan until hot
      • For the poussins, place the softened chillies, shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal and salt into a food processor and blend. Add a little water if necessary to form a smooth paste. (Blend the hardest ingredients first, then add the softer ones to the processor to ensure the paste is very smooth.)
      • Bruise the lemongrass with a rolling pin, then place a stalk inside the body cavity of each poussin
      • Rub half of the spice paste over both the insides and outsides of the poussins
      • Place the remaining spice paste into a pan. Add the coconut cream and sugar and place over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, until the liquid has reduced by half
      • Place the poussins onto the hot griddle pan and griddle for 3-4 minutes on all sides to achieve golden-brown griddle marks all over
      • Transfer the poussins to a roasting tray and place into the oven to roast for 15-20 minutes, or until completely cooked through. During cooking, baste the poussins with the reduced coconut cream and spice mixture every five minutes
      • Remove the poussins and leave to rest for 4-5 minutes in a warm place. Before serving, pour all of the juices from the roasting tray over the poussins and drizzle with the lime juice
      • For the dressing, reduce the oven temperature to 180C/365F/Gas 4
      • Place the shrimp paste into kitchen foil and wrap up to seal. Bake in the oven for ten minutes, or until it becomes nutty and drier (it should smell aromatic rather than pungent)
      • Grind the chillies and ginger together in a pestle and mortar
      • Add the roasted shrimp paste and grind again with the pestle and mortar to combine well
      • Add the tamarind pulp, lime juice, water, fish sauce and sugar and mix well
      • For the rojak salad, place the cucumber, pineapple, mango, papaya and apple into a bowl and mix together well
      • Add the spring onion and mint and mix through gently
      • Add half of the peanuts and stir through gently
      • Pour over the dressing and stir again to coat well
      • To serve, place a poussin onto each plate. Add a couple of spoonfuls of salad and garnish with the remaining peanuts and a few mint leaves.
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