The Best Way to Cook Coconut Milk Without Curdling It

Coconut milk curdles when cooked too long at high temperatures.
Image Credit: fermate/iStock/GettyImages

Coconut milk is a thick and creamy liquid that's extracted from the pulpy meat of a coconut. It's widely used in Indian, South Asian, Pacific Island and Caribbean cuisine to bring a creamy, cool flavor to spicy curries, stews and stir-fries.

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Coconut milk is widely available in most supermarkets. Look in your local supermarket's international section to find cans of coconut milk and low-fat coconut milk.

When cooking with coconut milk, you will need to exercise caution to avoid curdling. The milk curdles when cooked too long at high temperatures. Here's the best way to do it:

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  1. Pour in coconut milk after you have sautéed your meat or vegetables.
  2. Turn the heat down to low and do not boil the dish once coconut milk has been added.
  3. Stir the dish constantly while it is cooking to avoid curdling, using a flat, wide spatula. Use the spatula to lift and turn the liquid.

Tip

Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to a dish to prevent curdling of coconut milk. Adding cornstarch will also thicken the sauce, so don't use it if you're making a dish that requires a thin sauce.

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