Friday, January 9, 2009

the beautiful demon that is coconut milk.

ahhh, thai food. what a glorious cuisine. everything is so rich and brilliantly colored and flavored. and did i say richie rich milky coconutty richness saturated fatdom? because yes, that's what it is. 48 grams of fat per cup? and practically 90% of that is saturated? damn. don't get me wrong, i'm not big on going without edible luxuries. i love decadent full fat cheeses, real chocolate, and good wine when i can get them. but this is something i absolutely cannot justify, so i set out to find or create a substitute. and it worked! phenomenally!

i wanted to make a variation of the yummy tom ka soup, but thicker and more like a meal over rice. because i am a little nervous about too many experiments at once i went to the asian grocery and picked up a packet of tom ka paste (a complete bargain at 89 cents!). i know it's got some additives and way more sodium that i would prefer to be in there, but i'll try to make it homemade another day. this is the time for fat attack! i figured that some coconut flavored milk should do just as well as the real thing. and coconut flavored vanilla soymilk would be even better. so i whipped up a little batch, threw in some veggies and poured it over brown rice. so good that there are no pictures of it because we ate all of it. quickly. vague instructions below!

1 can coconut water
1 cup(ish) vanilla soymilk (regular if you want, but i like the additional sweetness it gave)
2 tsp corn starch
1 packet tom ka paste (to serve 4)
a hoopla of veggies, tofu, or meat (i used cauliflower, edamame, tofu, red pepper, spinach, and carrots)
brown short grain rice to serve 4

-pour about 1/2 of the can of coconut water and 1/2 of the soymilk in a pot with the paste and bring to a very low boil, just enough to melt the paste.
-add the tofu or (pre-cooked) meat and simmer for about 5-8 minutes. make sure you stir every now and then, soymilk can get that filmy thing on top.
-mix your cornstarch in with the rest of the soymilk and some of the coconut water (i still had a little coconut water leftover after i was done cooking) and add to the pot.
-throw in all your veggies and simmer until they are at the tenderness you like. i like mine pretty friggin' crunchy, so i left it on only for about 7 minutes.
-pour it over some cooked rice and it's a super delicious, way reduced-fat version of one of my favorite thai foods ever.

the only thing to keep and eye on and use your discretion in is the desired thickness. mine was still a little soupy, but the rice soaked most of it up by the end of my bowl. throw in some more milk or coconut water if you want a soup or use less if you like something thicker. good luck and clear arteries to you!

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