Wednesday, 17 November 2010

After Much Searching... the Perfect Coconut Cream

My recent exchanges with Tropical Sun ("Why is there Crap in My Coconut Milk?") threw up some interesting questions about what is important to the more discerning consumer.

Tropical Sun think it's consistency. I, and many of you who commented on those posts, think it's about purity. We just want the coconut, and don't care if it settles in the can or is not smooth like real cream.

Tropical Sun never did respond to my final question. I wanted to know how much corn starch they are adding - so I could decide for myself whether it mattered.

Since then I have been exploring different brands, many of which suggested by you in the comments. Yesterday I took delivery of a new one: Ayam Coconut Cream - thanks to Jess from Australia for recommending this.

What's the difference between coconut cream and coconut milk? People and manufacturers seem to use the terms interchangeably. In this case, Ayam make a point of saying that there is no added water - and when you open the tin, you can see the result. The contents are the consistency of a pudding. Take a spoonful and it retains its shape on the spoon.

The ingredients are 100% coconut extract. Okay, I know we've read that before and discovered it not to be true, but...

...reassuringly, there is also some liquid underneath, suggesting that the contents have - gasp! - settled in transit and, more importantly, that the manufacturers have not added homogenising agents to protect us poor consumers from the awful truth that food can separate into its component parts... or from the effort of shaking a can.

Also pleasing is the slightly off-white colour. Okay, coconut meat is normally brilliant white, but I am happy to assume that some part of the process or storage affects the colour - and that by not actively re-bleaching it they are confirming their commitment to a pure product.

Finally, because it's more concentrated than products with added water, the taste is sweeter. It's almost like a middle ground between solid creamed coconut and the more watery coconut milk/cream; and it tastes real - no hint of adulteration often detected in other brands.

This stuff could be dangerous - I ate half a tin last night in the name of 'research' and it was only Mrs M's needs that prevented me from nailing the lot.

See Also:

Dear Tropical Sun - "Why is there Crap in My Coconut Milk?"
Tropical Sun's Perplexing Reply
Tropical Sun Replies - "Our Additives are Okay"
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