I've been hunting for a good coconut milk with no or at least minimum industrial stabilizers and preservatives. I found a brand called Aroy-D that produces coconut milk and also cream in paper cartons(so no BPA from cans) Here's a picture. One pack contains a phenomenal 2000 calories. It says 100% coconut milk.
BUT! On the ingredients list it says 100% coconut milk. Now is it possible that they can sneak some guar gum and stuff in it without listing them? I've heard that since guar gum is contained in such tiny amount, it doesn't need to be listed. Or does the term "coconut milk" contains guar gum?
If you have access to stores that sell young coconut, you can have them crack them open for you. Young coconut meat is easily scraped from the shell without much struggle... Save the water inside before scraping them. Once you have shelled the meat out, stick the water and meat in a blender. Blend until it's like a smooth consistency. Then put some cheesecloth in a large bowl... Pour the mixture in... Sift the liquid out... Then squeeze the cheese cloth until all you are left with is damp fiber...
Then take the fibers, add a little more water and blend it all again. Repeat the straining and squeezing process, until the fiber is dry again.
Now you've got fresh coconut milk. The process is a little time consuming... But the results are well worth it. Be sure you drink the milk in 2 days or freeze it immediately, otherwise it will go bad. Once you have tasted this... You will never want to go back.
Now remember those dry fibers? Dry them out a little more on a cookie sheet, then blend them till they are powder... You just made fresh coconut flour! Use it to make paleo baked goods.
Now I've heard that with the fresh milk, you can also cook out the oils as well and get unfiltered coconut oil. I have not tried this, as the milk oil mixture is just too damned good to waste, and I don't want to cook out the flavor. Maybe one day I will try it though.
With enough time put in you could easily have oil, flour, and milk for a few weeks.
Of course this IS time consuming, and may not be for everyone.
One option is to order coconut cream from Tropical Traditions and dilute it--about 1/4 cup cream + 3/4 cup water. It comes in a jar, so no cans to mess with, and has no additives whatsoever. And did I mention it is delicious?
I've found frozen coconut milk in the freezer section at one of my local Asian markets. There are no other ingredients listed aside from coconut milk. They also sell frozen grated coconut. Both are frozen in 1 lb plastic bags and cost $1.69. Maybe you can ask your local store to order these.
Aroy-D is the closest to pure coconut milk/cream that I've tried. I honestly don't believe there is anything in there except coconut milk (ie coconut and water)
I just wish there is a local asian market that carries it here. :-(
I'm a little wary of the other ingredients in some of the brands, but the Gold Rooster brand (not sure that's what it's really called) is the best I've found in terms of taste, mouthfeel, and its ability to work in coffee. The Aroy-D is OK, but I agree that it's a tad on the grainy side.
The Premium Thai brand is awesome too, but at least twice the price of the Rooster where I shop.
I just bought some Arroy-D coconut milk today to try out. The ingredients printed on the can were coconut milk 55%, water. When we got home I noticed a little sticker on one end of the can that said it also contained E220 so I looked up E220 and found this page. I live in Spain so maybe Spanish or EU law says that E220 must be declared on the can? http://www.food-info.net/uk/e/e220.htm
I recetly tried coconut milk from a company called Diamond. I liked the taste but I think it was giving me belly aches which I suspect was being caused by the guar gum (E412). Guar gum is made from guar beans and I don't get on well with beans.
I have used Blue Dragon creamed coconut to make my own coconut milk by adding it to boiled water. It's a bit sickly for my tastes and very bitty.
I'm tinking about trying to make my own coconut milk from scratch but well over half of the coconuts we have brought here have been rotten so it sort of makes you wonder if it's worth bothering?
I'm chiming in to say I just made my own coconut milk from 'fresh' coconuts yesterday because, like the above comment from Jayan, at least then I know what's actually in it! And, well, the results were OK.
I used a fine mesh nut bag to strain out the fiberous solids (I blended coconut meat with coconut water and filtered tap water) and the end product was sweet, but not smooth. The coconut fats like to separate into small globs and there is a somewhat grainy look to the whole batch, like a cream soup that has 'broken'.
I'm sure the guar gum and other undisclosed thickeners are helpful in keeping the (canned and boxed) coconut milk 'creamy' and stop it from separating, but how healthy they are, I don't know.
I'd like to make whipped coconut cream again, but so far the only way I have been able to 'whip' coconut milk is by starting with canned coconut milk that's been chilled. I simply could not do it with the homemade coconut milk, even after refrigerating overnight.
If you need help opening coconuts, there are good videos on youtube - the best way I found is to whack the coconut in your hand (over a bowl) with the back/dull edge of a good quality/solid metal chef's knife, one that won't fly apart if used like a hammer :)
Here's a link to my favorite how-to-open-a-coconut:
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