Recently, I’ve been considering making a conscious switch to healthier food. Little things like switching to whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, low-fat, lite—small substitutions that don’t give the feeling of deprivation but could still contribute to overall well-being. So, upon learning of a Healthy Cooking seminar that involved saturated fat-laden coconut milk, I was intrigued.
Encountering Singaporean Chef and “Gourmetician” Lisa Leong was interesting. She espouses healthy cooking and efficiency in the kitchen through maximizing your body’s movements and smart use of kitchen equipment. She’s such a firm believer in the products she’s pushing—in this case a healthier alternative coconut milk, that she had me convinced as well.
A lot of Southeast Asian cooking, from Filipino, Thai to Singaporean, use a lot of coconut milk. But because of the high fat content, Chef Leong advocates the use of Super Coco Virgin Coconut Oil and COCOS MCT Powder (medium-chain triglycerides), which when reconstituted with water can be used as a substitute for coconut milk. She then demonstrated a couple of recipes using the said products, which we were able to try.
Over the course of the evening, she cooked a fiery laksa, coconut rice, pandan cake (Cooked in a rice cooker! It’s so Yakitate! Japan, right?), jelly, and even kaya toast. Sure enough, the distinct coconut flavor was always there, only with a pleasantly lighter taste.
More than the coconut oil, it was the MCT Powder that really intrigued me. Aside from the health benefits you get from cooking with it, I loved how it was in powder form. I mean, you can easily stick it in your pantry so you can cook with coconut milk anytime you need it. It reconstitutes into half cups, so I find it more economical than opening a can of coconut milk and more accessible than dashing to the market to buy fresh coconuts for making into milk.
As the evening came to a close, the health benefits were repeatedly highlighted, but you know what? For me, the real winner was the fact that the products can help create delicious food, which just happen to be healthy. So yeah, you can expect some kitchen experiments from me, of the coconutty kind.