5 Vancouver chefs share their love for coconut milk + a Thai Kitchen Prize Pack Giveaway!

Pink Elephant Thai - Oxtail Coconut Curry-0782 (Custom)5 Vancouver chefs share their love for coconut milk + a Thai Kitchen Prize Pack Giveaway!

For the love of coconut milk. It’s a staple in any Southeast Asian kitchen. Just ask these chefs, or I’ll do it for you!

It’s a must have in curries and many soups, but there are also other ways to use it; for example in desserts, smoothies, baked goods and even in spaghetti and omelettes (from the words of a couple chefs below).

I asked 5 chefs to spill their love for coconut milk, share their tips on qualities to look for when buying it, and also how to use it.

It’s not only delicious and a great way to thicken sauces and soups while adding aromatics, creaminess, richness and sweetness, but it’s also a great dairy alternative, gluten free, and vegan.

Maenam Angus An

Chef/Owner Angus An
Restaurant: Maenam and Longtail Kitchen

1. What are 3 of your favourite dishes using coconut milk? 

Dom Kaa (coconut and galangal soup)
Geng Gati (southern style turmeric curry)
Grilled tuna and Green mango salad (a touch of coconut cream is used to enrich the dressing)

2. What is the most unusual sweet or savoury dish you have made or ate with coconut milk?

Durian Sticky Rice at Nahm. The savoury flavours of Durian is balanced with salty and sweet coconut cream cooked with sticky rice. Was a good dessert!

3. What qualities do you look for in an excellent coconut milk?

Flavour and consistency. Sometimes the packaged and canned ones have too much emulsifiers and preservatives.

4. Which dishes at Maenam use coconut milk? What would you never make without it?

Most of our curries, coconut soup, marinades, etc. I would never make Dom Ka without coconut cream. I have seen recipes where people put cream instead of coconut, that grosses me out a little.

5. What’s one of your favourite dishes in Vancouver using coconut milk?

I like our geng gati curry, it’s a southern style curry with lots of coconut milk/cream.

6. Any tips about using coconut milk?

Learn to separate milk/cream/fat from the product. Each has its place in cooking. When you’ve learned how to separate that, you can even reduce the cream until it separates (what we call crack cream) and that rich goodness can help you cook wonderful dishes.


Chef/Owner  Ui Ratsomjit
Restaurant: U & I Thai

1. What are 3 of your favourite dishes using coconut milk?

Red Curry, Yellow and Panang Curry

2. What is the most unusual sweet or savoury dish you have made or ate with coconut milk?

“Tom Kha Gai” = Spicy and Sour Coconut Chicken Soup.

3. What qualities do you look for in an excellent coconut milk?

Texture is rich, creamy, buttery and smooth.

4. Which dishes at U & I Thai use coconut milk?

All curries: Examples: Red, Green, Yellow, Panang and Massaman Curries.

5. What’s one of your favourite dishes in Vancouver using coconut milk?

Our award winning green curry with Halibut.

6. Any tips about using coconut milk?

In ANY Curry dish, heat up the coconut milk first before stirring in the curry  paste. This will ensure that the flavor of the curry is evenly diffused.

brokenricePhoto from Vancouver Sun

Chef/Owner Yen Do
Restaurant: Brokenrice Vietnamese Restaurant

1. What are 3 of your favourite dishes using coconut milk?

1) Rice vermiculite fish soup
2) Coconut pandan waffles
3) Thick noodle crab soup

2. What is the most unusual sweet or savoury dish you have made or ate with coconut milk?


3. What qualities do you look for in an excellent coconut milk?

Look for thick and not too watery.

4. Which dishes at Brokenrice use coconut milk? 

Banh xeo and curries.

5. What’s one of your favourite dishes in Vancouver using coconut milk?

Banh tam bi (Thick noodles and shredded pork )

6. Any tips about using coconut milk?

Don’t over cook it.

Thai house-Chef Lek

Chef Lek Tondonoice
Restaurant: Thai House (Richmond location)

1. What are 3 of your favourite dishes using coconut milk?

Kaeng Matsaman – Rich beef curry with ground peanuts

New Zealand Lamb Loin Chops with yellow curry sauce

Horw Mok Maprao – Boneless chicken, coconut meat with red curry sauce

2. What is the most unusual sweet or savoury dish you have made or ate with coconut milk?

Mango Sticky Rice

3. What qualities do you look for in an excellent coconut milk?

The color, thickness, rich smell

4. Which dishes at Thai House use coconut milk? 

All curry dishes. Rice with coconut milk.

5. What’s one of your favourite dishes in Vancouver using coconut milk?

Tom-Kah soup – Spicy & sour soup with mushrooms, lemon grass, Thai spices and coconut milk

6. Any tips about using coconut milk?

Coconut milk needs to be refrigerated. Store it in an air tight, easy to use container. Shake it well before using it.

Chef Curtis Luk - Bambudda Headshot

Chef Cutis Luk
Restaurant: Bambudda

1. What are 3 of your favourite dishes using coconut milk?

Sweet Coconut and sago soup with honeydew is a light Chinese dessert soup that’s slightly sweet. There is a base of sweetened coconut milk that’s mixed with small tapioca pearls and dice of melon.

Khao soi is a Northern Thai noodle dish in a red curry-like coconut based sauce. The coconut milk is incorporated into the sauce.

Chicken Satay — the coconut milk is incorporated into satay sauce along with the peanuts to give it an aroma. I like to make satay myself, personally. It’s fairly simple and is flavourful.

2. What is the most unusual sweet or savoury dish you have made or ate with coconut milk?

I add coconut milk to omelettes for a south-east asian flavour.  I add about three parts egg to about one part coconut milk, similar to using cream or milk to fortify an omelette.  I add cilantro, fish sauce, sometimes a bit of chili. I garnish with some crispy onions, more cilantro, some pickled chilis and maybe some pork floss.

3. What qualities do you look for in an excellent coconut milk?

I like a can that is at least a third to half cream, pure white and clean and fresh smelling simply of coconut.

4. Which dishes at Bambudda use coconut milk? 

The yellow curry vinaigrette with beef tongue  is based on a Hong Kong preparation of beef tongue, where it’s served with a tomato sauce or an Indian-inspired curry.  I wanted to give a Southeast Asian twist so I added the coconut and fish sauce/lime leaf as well.

5. What’s one of your favourite dishes in Vancouver using coconut milk?

The Green Curry at Maenam. I like it because of the distinct taste of herbs and spices, and the good use of the coconut milk when used to cook (such as sautéing the coconut cream) gives it a very appealing aroma.

6. Any tips about using coconut milk?

To get a richer taste and feel of coconut, refrigerate the coconut milk. Refrigerating causes the coconut fat to solidify, like butter, and form a cream on the top, which is what you should use for cooking. and use only the cream on top. The separated water underneath can be used for other purposes such as making smoothies, as a substitution for water in making coconut scented rice,  and even as an accent a tropical cocktail.

Follow Me Foodie’s Thai Kithchen Giveaway!

TK Prize PackPrize includes: Coconut Milk Lite, Coconut Milk, Original Pad Thai, Green Curry Paste, Plum Sauce, Spicy Thai Chili, Fish Sauce, Coconut Milk, Peanut Satay, Jasmine Rice, Stir Fry Rice Noodle, Year of the Sheep Plush Toy (Retail value: $50)

For more inspiration or ways to use Coconut Milk in your everyday recipes check out Thai Kitchen Canada’s #TKeveryday Recipe Challenge. There’s also $4500 in prizes up for grabs just for voting!

How to enter:

1) Comment on this post with your favourite dish using coconut milk.


2) Tweet: RT and follow to enter! Win a  prize pack from @followmefoodie! #Tkeveryday http://bit.ly/1BZEaT0


3) “LIKE” the Follow Me Foodie Facebook Fanpage and comment on this post with your favourite dish using coconut milk.

CONTEST CLOSES March 16, 2015

Terms & Conditions:

1. Contest open to Canadian residents.
2. FollowMeFoodie.com retains the right to approve entries.
3. Prize not negotiable, cannot be exchanged or taken as cash.
4. Allow 15 days for prize delivery.
5. If winner does not respond within 30 days of the closing date of the contest another winner will be selected.

This post was sponsored by Thai Kitchen. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.


  • Alicia C says:

    My favourite is mango curry!

  • Dexter says:

    I love coconut tapioca pudding, maybe with some coconut whipped cream too.

  • My new fave dish I have been making on the regular is a green curry turkey/zucchini/sweet potato meatloaf in a coconut milk green curry sauce. Its beyond amazing – and I use a lot of Thai Kitchen products to make it.

  • Websturr says:

    Crab Cakes with Ginger and Coconut Milk**
    1/4 a bunch of cilantro (or more to taste — the original recipe uses one entire bunch), leaves and stems, finely chopped ( I personally used parsley)
    2 tablespoons grated ginger
    4 scallions, sliced into thin rings using the white part and about two inches of the green
    1 teaspoon (or more to taste) Chinese chili sauce
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2/3 cup coconut milk
    2 pieces white sandwich bread (the same type as Pepperidge Farm), crusts removed, in tiny pieces
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1 pound jumbo lump blue claw crab meat
    1. In a bowl, mix the cilantro, ginger, scallions, chili paste, salt, coconut milk, bread, and egg together. Set aside.

    2. Inspect the crab meat for bits of shell being very careful not to break up the big lumps of crab.

    3. Gently fold the cilantro ginger mixture into the crab. Taste for seasoning. Gently but firmly press the crab meat mixture into patties. I did this by filling 2-inch rings with the crab mixture, removing the ring and then gently pressing the edges towards the center. Place the patties on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour which will make the crab cakes firmer and less prone to breaking apart.

    4. Generously film a cast iron frying pan or whatever frying pan you may have with vegetable oil (this would not be the time to use olive oil) and saute the crab cakes until browned. Turn gently and brown the second side.

  • Lindsay says:

    My favourite dish using coconut milk is my Thai Curry Ceviche. For the base, I roast all my own spices in a large wok, then add the coconut milk and simmer for at least two hours, adding more milk if needed.

  • Jean says:

    Baked lentils – the coconut milk makes an easy dish tasty.

  • Jeannie says:

    I love my mother in law’s Thai curry recipe.

  • Linda says:

    Rice ball dessert with black sesame filling. The coconut milk goes in with the rice flour.

  • Cynthia says:

    Butternut squash soup!

  • Hanson says:

    I tried making coconut ice cream using canned coconut milk and it turned out great and I got a great green tea coconut flavour!

  • Brenda Penton says:

    Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup. I love it!

  • Russell Porter says:

    Coconut Ginger Fried Rice

  • Ruth says:

    thai pumpkin curry yum yum!!

  • Donna says:

    coconut milk baked chicken!

  • Putri says:

    Kolak pisang, an Indonesian dessert with bananas and coconut milk.

  • patti wan says:

    I use coconut milk in curries and have also made coconut ice cream with it !

  • maria says:

    Thai curry!

  • Martha Perkins says:

    I put lime leaves under the skin of a chicken before roasting it and then make a lime leaf, coconut milk and ginger sauce.

  • nicoleroannef says:

    I make a half Indian, half Thai mango chicken curry with coconut milk. It sounds strange but is very good and freezes well for quick weekday dinners.

  • Maggie C says:

    I love coconut sago dessert (it is an asian dessert.)

  • Jeff says:


  • Dilara says:

    I like making a coconut curry with chicken wings and bell peppers. Hubby just loves it which is a nice bonus 🙂

  • Dennis L. says:

    Thai green curry with chicken

  • Heidi c. says:

    Tom Kahn soup is probably my favourite savoury dish using coconut milk. I will eat any dessert containing it, of course!

  • Alicia says:

    Rice and peas. West Indian style!!!

  • Lisa says:

    Coconut curry shrimp!

  • Christel Schindler says:

    Red curry shrimp, with onions, red pepper and peas. 🙂

    And I agree, a good coconut milk makes all the difference.

  • StephanieW says:

    Coconut milk is a must-have ingredient in all my curry recipes, but this vegetarian Chickpea Coconut Curry is a true standout!

    1 tablespoon garam masala
    3 tablespoons butter or ghee
    1 small onion, finely minced (about 1 cup)
    4 cloves garlic, grated
    1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
    1 small red or green chili, finely chopped
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/2 cup cashew nuts
    1 (14-ounce) can Thai Kitchen coconut milk
    2 (14-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    1 bunch (about 3 ounces) flat spinach leaves, roughly chopped
    Kosher salt
    1/4 cup fresh juice from 3 to 4 limes
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped

    1) Heat butter or ghee in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until melted. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and chili. Cook, stirring frequently, and scraping bottom of pan until golden brown and starting to burn in spots, about 10 minutes. Add cayenne, cashews, and half of spice mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add coconut milk and remove from heat. Scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan.

    2) Transfer mixture to blender and starting a low speed, slowly increase speed to maximum. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Return mixture to pot. Add chickpeas, spinach, and remaining spice mix and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until vegetables are heated through and spinach is wilted, about 10 minutes. Add salt and lime juice to taste. Stir in half of cilantro.

    3) Garnish with whatever you please – extra cilantro, lime wedges, grilled naan, or even mango chutney!

    Thanks for the fabulous giveaway, I’m a huge Thai Kitchen fan and would love to win this amazing prize so I can try a bunch of new Thai dishes. Great post with great tips, too! 🙂 Fingers crossed!!

  • Michael P. says:

    Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk! Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back to using dairy milk or cream – trust me. I’m totally addicted! 🙂

    Thanks for the amazing contest, really hope I win!

  • Adrienne says:

    Thai black rice coconut pudding! I love eating it for breakfast.

    Soak 1 c. black rice and 1 c. white glutinous rice overnight.
    Steam the rice: boil 3″ water in the bottom of a large pot, line a steamer with cheesecloth and place on top. Add the rice, spread evenly and then drizzle a few tablespoons of boiled water over top of the rice, stir and cover with a lid. Cook on low-med heat and every 15 min lift the lid and sprinkle a few tablespoons of boiled water to the rice and stir around.
    Cook for approx 1 hr.
    Make the sauce: 2 cans of coconut milk, approx 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp vanilla.
    Mix these ingredients in a saucepan, bring to slow boil, turn heat down to low and cook for approx 10 minutes while occasionally stirring.
    When rice is done, empty into a large bowl and stir in about 1/2 the sauce. It will absorb most of the sauce. Keep the rest of the sauce for when you serve the pudding.
    Great with some fresh sliced mango!

  • Dixon CW AU says:

    Our current favorite dishes are coconut rice and stir fried mixer vegetables with a coconut cream sauce (pound chilies and small amount of ginger for a little kick). Adding either pan fired salmon or grilled chicken as a main dish.

  • Erica R says:

    yellow thai curry! Such a sucker for the sweet pineapple in the curry sauce!

  • Shirley says:

    I love all curries.

  • nancy says:

    Coconuts are miracles! i love them. i love sticky rice made with a bit of coconut milk. Fragrant and yummy!

  • Shirley A says:

    My 6 yr old daughter and I love Green Curry Chicken

  • Wally says:

    Crabcakes with coconut milk.

  • Lisa M says:

    Pineapple coconut chicken mmmmmmm

  • Eileen says:

    I like making Thai green curry with coconut milk.

  • Belinda McNabb says:

    Curry yum!

  • Joan Kubes says:

    I love using coconut milk in the dipping sauce for my coconut shrimp!

  • Emily says:

    I absolutely love red curry!!!

  • Diane says:

    I usually make a red or green thai curry with chicken but I see some recipe ideas in the list above that have inspired me to get out of my comfort zone (ie: Martha Perkins)

  • nicolthepickle says:

    I make an amazing tomato and beef curry with coconut milk. I’t one of my favourite supper dishes.

  • Jenny says:

    coconut lentil soup !

  • Tracy says:

    I love it in desserts like sticky rice with mango

  • ikkinlala says:

    I usually use it for coconut cream pie, but I love it in curries too.

  • Rebby says:

    I absolutely love to make Indian Keema curry!

  • Annette C. says:

    Pigtails with coconut curry rice

  • Jane Mehai says:

    My favourite dish is Thai Coconut Prawns

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