Dumb Question about Coconut Cream and Milk

I am making a Masaman curry for dinner. The recipe I have calls for equal parts coconut cream and coconut milk. I have a can of both, but I found myself wondering. Is the thinner liquid below the thicker cream, in the coconut cream can, coconut milk or something else? I would prefer not to have two opened cans after preparing this meal.

For the life of me, I can’t remember what I did the last time I made this.

I didn’t know either. Here’s a good explanation.

My rule of thumb is:

“If you open a can of coconut milk, make curry. If you open a can of coconut cream, make pina coladas.”

YMMV :wink:


when u open a can of coconut milk, at room temp, the liquid on the bottom is coconut milk and the thickened part that floats on top is coconut cream,
This is usually used in thai curry or filipino dishes. I often use the milk to cook with and towards the last 5- 10 minutes, end, add the cream.
To make your own from shredded coconut, see the description below
Coconut milk: Coconut milk has the liquid consistency of cow’s milk and is made from simmering one part shredded coconut in one part water. Coconut milk is the basis of most Thai curries. Coconut cream: Coconut cream is much thicker and richer. It is made from simmering four parts shredded coconut in one part water.

HOWEVER, cream of coconut is different. It is coconut cream with added sugar for drinks, such as COCO LOPEZ, Not FOR COOKING but for making Pina colada and other drinks.
I have never used coconut cream from a can but there are coconut cream in a small plastic box in the frozen section of Asian stores which is very popular among filipinos in making dessert topping called LATIK. Specifically, coconut cream are the solids form coconut cream and when it is boiled , then simmered, it turns brown and forms LATIK which is very fragrant used as toppings for a lot of filipino desserts using sticky rice cooked in coconut milk such as Biko ,Kalamay etc. I understand that one can use coconut cream in a can for this purpose too.

Now, coconut water is what I use for drinking when I am working out. VITA is an example


My coconut cream does not have sugar. Nor does the coconut milk. [I know that Cream of Coconut, is different that Coconut Cream.] @ccj, so if I only want to use one can, you are suggesting that I use the can of milk, harvesting the cream as the recipe indicates?

Here is what I have, which might help the discussion.




1 Like

Use the coconut milk. I make curries all the time and don’t bother with coconut cream. Fresh coconut milk in Asia is much thinner than the canned coconut milk we get here.

I would also suggest using the milk. Don’t shake it. When you open the can you can spoon off the thicker cream from the top, the use the thinner milk below.

I was taught to cook the cream first with the curry until it breaks/oils separate out and then finish with the milk to thin to desired consistency.

I prefer the charkoh brand for cooking my curries as well as for making filipino rice dessert recipes ( biko which is sticky or glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk, eaten as is or to go one notch up, I use coconut cream for topping with some condensed milk if not worried about my weight or cooked with brown sugar. and if one notch up for a party, would be to make latik which is coconut cream, brought to a boil and then simmered. You can find the recipe on the internet. ) . I find chaokoh brand more consistent with more cream. For toppings for buko, I usually collect my cream or buy the coconut cream in the freezer section but has found some of them too old and rancid. more consistent. I prefer to use the liquid part for initial cooking and reserve the creamy part that floats on top of the can at the last 5-10 minutes as I think that cooking that part early on MIGHT mean that the cream gets evaporated(?) I might be wrong.
I have never use the chaokoh coconut cream. Next time when I need to make curry or biko, I will try and find their brand.

Yes, if you are making Thai Panang curry, I use the whole can of coconut milk, heat until the oil separates initially, then add my panning curry but when I am making chinese chicken curry using Javin Brand Curry, , I try to do it the opposite way. I use mostly the thin part, then cook the chicken and then add the cream when the chicken is almost cooked. Incidentally, many many years ago, while I was in Monaco, I was swapping recipe with a chef in one of the restaurants who gave me a tip and I find that tip very good for my chicken curry, chinese style. She told me to add vanilla yogurt towards the end as the Javin curry can be bit bitter. I found that a fantastic tip, adding enough of Dannon’s low fat vanilla yogurt so I can add as much curry without the bitterness.


1 Like

The poster said they are making Masaman curry

sorry , I am not familiar with masaman curry
my mistake

did not understand what you mean by DELETE

It’s okay, just didn’t want to complicate the question. I’m curious about Chinese curry, not sure I’ve ever tried it.

chinese chicken curry and rice

Some people are very keen to point out that there’s no such thing as Chinese curry sauce despite the fact that I’ve been getting them from Chinese takeaways for years, and I love them! I normally tell such people that, actually, there’s not really any such thing as an Indian curry either. In general, a lot of what gets called “curry” in the West doesn’t really exist in China or India.
It’s one of those situations where fusions occur via immigrant populations bringing their culinary ideas with them, and merging them to accommodate local tastes and ingredients. It is even alleged that one of the most famous curries in the UK – chicken tikka masala – was invented in Scotland. Crazy, huh?

in answer to your question, I am Chinese, born in the Philippines, father was born in Singapore and had been here in the US for the last 53 years.
I grew up with only one kind of curry, that is a yellow curry ,namely JAVI BRAND CURRY POWDER ( CORIANDER TURMERIC, FENU GREEK, CORN FLOUR, CUMIN , GINGER, etc. NUTMEG etc. ) Here in the US, I found the same brand in Asian Supermarket and this is what I call Chinese Curry, maybe I am again completely wrong although there are many other brands out there. Funny thing its s labeled as authentic INDIAN STYLE but manufactured in the USA BY AVON COMPANY
I use it for Singapore noodles ( which I am told is not from Singapore originally but probably from FuChow?) , as well as for chicken curry. So, I call it Chinese curry bec it is different from the red panang thai curry .

The Filipinos as we know, adopted a lot of Chinese recipe calling it Filipino recipe. They modified and added coconut to their curry. I learned how to modify my chicken curry from a Vietnamese lady in Monaco back in 1972 whereby she added some vanilla yogurt to take away the bitter taste of curry. I love hot spicy food, so aside from the usual garlic, ginger added to stir fry the chicken, I add red hot pepper to my taste.

I am sorry someone’s answer to my reply earlier is not completely civil. the answer was DELETE
So, if that is the way people from these website is going to act, I will not participate in your forum anymore.

pls be a bit civil

I’m guessing you are new to message boards in general? In netiquette, when one writes a post, and then changes their mind about it, they write “delete” in place of the original post. It was not directed at you. It means they deleted whatever they originally wrote.

1 Like

@ccj. Delete just means that someone wrote something and then didn’t really want it posted. Since you can not delete a post, instead, people simply edit the post, removing all the text, and then typing DELETE. This was in no way directed toward you [or me.]

1 Like

thanks for clarification
I guess I just got hurt bec I did not see the question specifically addressing about masaman curry which I have no knowledge of at all.
Then, I saw the words DELETE

It’s all good. No worries.

I would still be curious about Chinese curry. Is it saucy like a Thai curry, drier, with veggies or mainly chicken? I think I’ve seen a Japanese curry sold in a cardboard box in like a block but don’t hold me to that.