Coconut Cream & Creamed Coconut - They are not the same but can well be
As sellers of Coconut products we often get asked for coconut cream, which is in liquid form. Some enquirers loosely refer to it is creamed coconut, which is solidified concentrated coconut fat. The two products are different in shape and form but coconut cream can easily be substituted by creamed coconut and be put to the same use.
Pure coconut cream is made up of two constituents – coconut fat ( 23 – 24%) and water ( 76 – 77%). If you buy coconut cream in aseptic bags, this is what you get – a pure, slightly more concentrated version of coconut milk. However, if you buy coconut cream in other forms of packaging, such as tins or cans, they will usually have fillers and stabilizers like carrageenan or guar gum. This is necessary to prevent acidic reaction in the milk/ cream when it comes in contact with the inner lining of the can.
Creamed coconut, on the other hand, is the fat extracted from high fat, fine grade, desiccated coconut, usually by milling. This fat is then allowed to cool and solidify. To make it easy to use it can be cooled in moulded containers of varying sizes and weights ( eg. 200 g or even smaller cubes or 5 kg or even larger and then flaked off).
If your end use requires you to use coconut cream in large industrial recipes,then coconut cream in aseptic bags is your best choice. This is typically for making sauces and curries or even desserts like sorbets etc. However, if you have smaller kitchens or need more flexibility in usage, both in terms of what you want to achieve as an end product ( eg. Curry. Stir fry, sorbet, vegan cheese, coconut jelly) then give creamed coconut a try.
If you need to make 1 kg of coconut cream but with creamed coconut and not have to open a 20 kg aseptic bags ( for that is the typical weight) of pure coconut cream and be under pressure to consume the whole bag within 5 days ( for if you do not the contents will go off), use 240 gm of the solid creamed coconut. Put it in a container of 750 – 760 gm of hot (perhaps even boiling) water. Stir until the solids melt into the water. And there you have it – coconut cream.
The beauty of it is that you can vary the fat content of your own coconut cream (or coconut milk, if you reduce the fat) as per what you desire. With coconut milk or cream in an aseptic bag, you will only be able to dilute the fat content but not increase it. With creamed coconut you can do both.
If you want the liquid to set, add a gelling agent like gelatine or, if you want a vegan product, agar agar powder. All of these need to be mixed over heat and whisked until all ingredients dissolve. Once the ingredients have dissolved, transfer immediately into a moulded or shaped container and allow it to cool for 30 minutes or more before refrigerating.
This is simply an idea, but it all depends on what you want to achieve. If you want a stir fry then simply put the creamed coconut in the pan along with the other ingredients. It will simply melt away like butter and give the dish a dry coconutty flavour.