Coconut milk, extracted from mature coconut flesh (not the “coconut water” found in young green coconuts), is a creamy staple in sweet and savory dishes from many tropical climates, including a number of Indian and Southeast Asian curries.
While it’s easy to make your own coconut milk—unsweetened coconut is increasingly available in large supermarkets and specialty stores—the canned variety works just as well. Just shake vigorously before using.
In this recipe, coconut milk adds richness and subtle coconut flavor to a comforting carrot soup. Winter squash can also be substituted for carrots.
(Note: Coconut milk in cartons, found on shelves alongside almond, rice, soy and other non-dairy milk, is essentially coconut milk that’s watered down. It has added stabilizers and thickeners to approximate dairy milk.)
Have some extra coconut milk leftover? Try your hand at the Komodo Dragon, a coconut cocktail that plays off the classic Grasshopper drink.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3½ cups peeled, chopped carrots (about 6 medium carrots)
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups coconut milk (not low-fat)
- 1½ teaspoons curry powder
- 1½ teaspoons minced fresh ginger
- Salt, to taste
In soup pot over medium heat, warm olive oil. Add onions, and cook until tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes (reduce heat if too dark). Add carrots, and cook 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except garnish. Cover and cook until carrots are very soft, about 10–15 minutes.
Transfer to blender (in batches, if necessary). Purée until very smooth. Return to pot. Warm through, adding a little stock or water if too thick. Add salt, to taste. Serve hot, garnished with dollop of coconut chutney or pesto, if desired. Serves 4.
Put 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes in blender. Add 4 cups very hot water (just under boiling). Let sit 10 minutes then blend 2 minutes. Over large bowl, strain mixture through strainer lined with cheesecloth. Squeeze cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible. Refrigerate up to 4 days.
A Pinot Gris from New Zealand, like Amisfield’s 2015 bottling from Central Otago, will be a nice companion to this rich yet spicy soup. The wine’s round mouthfeel and ripe fruit notes of pear and muskmelon will harmonize with the sweet yet earthy carrot flavor. Bright acidity helps to lift the palate, while accents of cinnamon and ginger complement the soup’s spicy additions.