I love Thai food! Making it at home, fully aware of the amount of coconut milk and fat that goes in it, is a different story.
I’ve made this Thai chicken curry recipe several times. It calls for 2 cans of coconut milk. One can has 70 grams of fat and 50 grams of saturated fat, so I always substitut the second can with an equivalent amount of low-fat or skim milk.
And it’s not just about fat grams. Too much coconut milk didn’t settle well in my stomach.
A client of mine–who is on a low fat diet to lower her cholesterol level–insisted that young coconuts are actually low in fat. Not being familiar with them, I decided to adventure and uncover their truth.
Young coconuts come from Thailand and are usually sold in Ethnic stores, such as Asian or Mexican. I also found them at my local Wegmans grocery store. One whole young coconut has 3 grams of total fat (all 3 are saturated); an amount not comparable to the fat in coconut milk!
Opening it required some muscle. You can scoop out the meat of the coconut, but I only used the water. The whole fruit yielded about 2 cups of water.
Thai Chicken Curry–with Young Coconut
- 1 tbsp yellow or red curry paste
- 1 cup (8 oz) coconut water
- 1 cup low-fat or skim milk
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch squares
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 c bamboo shoots, drained and chopped (can be skipped if not available)
- 1 red sweet bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch squares
- 1 1/2 green sweet bell pepper, cut into 1/2 squares
- 1/2 small onion, chopped, cut into 1/2 inch squares
- 1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks, cut into 1/2 inch squares
In a bowl, whisk together the curry paste and coconut water. Transfer to a wok and mix in the low-fat or skim milk, chicken, sugar, and bamboo shoots. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear.
Add the peppers, onion, and pineapple to the wok. Continue cooking another 10-15 minutes.
Serve with basmati or jasmine rice.
Can the water really substitute the coconut milk? It really depends on you. The coconut taste was apparent and it was a delicious sweet and hot Thai dish. My husband missed the creamy texture of coconut milk though.
If you love coconuts but avoid them because of saturated fat, the water of young coconuts might be your solution.
To make this recipe with coconut milk, substitute the coconut water with a can of coconut milk.