Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Specifically, if I work from a started paste that require adding coconut milk, what would be a good substitute?

share|improve this question
1  
What type of curry is it? If you add more details about the recipe, it would help.. –  Dharini Chandrasekaran Jun 20 '12 at 1:19
3  
And why are you sustituting? –  FuzzyChef Jun 20 '12 at 5:56
add comment

6 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Half and half or heavy cream is a pretty good substitute. It has similar fat/water suspension, reduces and thickens similarly, and emulsifies similarly. You lose the coconut flavor, but it cooks similarly and you keep the texture.

You cannot substitute coconut cream, because it is too rich, which changes the texture of the sauce greatly, and doesn't do as good a job of getting flavors out of spices.

Incidentally, I highly suggest you pick up a box of instant coconut milk powder. It's not as good as the canned stuff (needs whisking), but because it's nonperishable you don't have to use the whole container at a time. This helps avoid the "oh crap, used the last can!" moments you get with canned coconut milk.

share|improve this answer
    
I don't think there can be a substitute! Cream is relatively flavourless and if the reason for the substitution is avoiding saturated fat, cream would be even worse (than coconut milk.) –  Doug Jun 20 '12 at 3:19
    
@Doug: Generally the reason you substitute is hitting the moment where you're like "oh crap, forgot to get some at the store." It does come out somewhat bland if you use cream, but if it's all you have on hand, at least the sauce will get the right consistency, and you'll still get the flavors from the spices. –  BobMcGee Jun 20 '12 at 12:03
    
Coconut cream is mostly just a crapton of emulsifiers... I'll bet you could concoct a reasonable substitute with the right gums and other additives. –  Aaronut Jun 22 '12 at 0:30
add comment

For mouth-feel minus the calories, I make a puree of sauteed onions.

It is an old restaurant trick. The onions can be browned or not as preferred but completely soft before blending a minute or more. Freezes well.

For flavor and a load of calories, a bit of cashew cream adds wonderful richness. Careful not to boil, though.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In North Indian cuisine, oftentimes, cashew or almond paste is used in place of coconuts for lack of availability of the latter.

You could soak up some cashew (depending on how thick you want the curry to be) in a bowl of warm water until they get a little softer. Use a food processor to grind it into a fine paste.

The other substitute could be tomato puree/pulp.

share|improve this answer
add comment

First of all, "curry" is a very broad term. Not sure what you mean by "curry sauces" but some specificity here would help get a better answer. A lot of Thai-style curries do not even use coconut milk, they use broth or stock for a less viscous (soupy) consistency. I actually prefer my curries like this, especially for lunch, it makes for a much lighter meal (less saturated fat is always good) and less of a "curry hangover".

share|improve this answer
add comment

I know its been a while since anyone posted to this thread, but I just wanted to add that last night, as I was making a Thai green curry dish, I too found myself without any coconut milk, and didn't have any of the products recommended in this thread (no heavy cream, almonds, cashew, etc.) - ended up using 2% milk + 1 Tsp of butter, as that was all I had, while it obviously lacked the coconut flavor, it was quite good though the overall dish was spicier than usual (I guess I should have added some honey or sugar to soften the heat)

share|improve this answer
add comment

coconut essence in milk-----cannot tell the difference!

share|improve this answer
    
What is "coconut essence?" –  Jolenealaska Jan 15 at 7:23
    
I think coconut flavouring (like you have vanilla essence as well). –  Mien Jan 15 at 13:41
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.