Cooking question: Coconut milk vs. coconut cream

I’m planning on making an attempt at this recipe:

I’ve already figured out a few things I’m tweaking. But I have a question about cooking with coconut cream vs. coconut milk. At first I thought it was a term for the same thing (this is a British recipe and we have different words between UK/US) but I googled it and saw it does have a different consistency and make up.

So far I haven’t found it. Almost all grocery stores have coconut milk, but I’ve yet to see the cream. (There are some Asian groceries around, but I haven’t been there yet.)

Anyone know any pitfalls with substituting milk for cream? It’s soup, so I can already just cook it down further, if that’s all it needs.

AFAIK the cream is the same as the milk with a thicker consistency. I’ve seen the Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream at the grocery store in a can. I’ve seen instructions for making it from coconut milk, but never tried. The idea is to squeeze out excess liquid through a cloth. I think it’s the high fat stuff that floats up to the top in a container of coconut milk and not the sludgy stuff that may settle at the bottom.

Thanks Tripolar! That’s what it looked like. Different ratios of coconut:water. With savory stuff–hot sauce can cover a lot. (With dessert stuff–heat it and put it with ice cream!)

I’m teaching myself a bit. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but the recipe had a lot of stuff I like in it.

What TriPolar said. You should be able to get 6 T of cream from the top of a 15 oz can, or close to it. Just don’t shake it before opening. If it’s not enough just use some of the milk to equal 6 T.

Coconut cream has a higher percentage of fat than coconut milk. You can tell the difference pretty easily if the fat has separated out from the milk when you open the cans-- the coconut cream has maybe twice the amount of the solid white stuff. For Thai food, the difference absolutely matters. For what you’re cooking, I can’t see it making a difference.

You should be able to buy coconut cream in the mixer section of your grocery store. Normally it used for pina coladas so that’s where they store it.

From the Good Eats episode, “Coconut Cake Revival”:

Alton Brown then goes on to make his own coconut milk and cream. For milk, he adds 2 ounces of shredded coconut to 1/2 cup of boiling 2% milk in a glass jar. For cream, same thing, but 4 ounces of coconut. Wait an hour, put each in a blender for a one-minute spin, strain the solids out, and cool before using.

Thanks for the help everyone! i never even thought to look in the mixer aisle (I don’t like pina coladas though I love coconut in food.)

That Coco Lopez stuff is sweetened. Not what you’re looking for.

I’ve been turning coconut milk into coconut cream very easily, simply by leaving the can in the fridge overnight. This will cause the water and the solids to separate. Then you just crack open the can, pour off the liquid, and Bob is your uncle.

This will work with some brands but not others, depending on what stabilizers have been added. Since I live in a weird corner of the world, my local brand names will be unhelpful. I suppose you could experiment.