Elevating Asian Cuisine with Coconut Cream: A Culinary Journey

By: iTi Innovation

The Essence of Coconut Cream:

Coconut cream is derived from the flesh of mature coconuts, which are grated, soaked, and strained to extract the thick, creamy liquid. Coconut milk is classified into subtypes, and the primary distinction is based on its fat content. Coconut cream has the highest fat content, with a percentage of 20% or higher, while coconut milk has a lower fat content, typically less than 20%. Its natural sweetness and subtle nuttiness make it a versatile ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes.

Embracing Tradition:

Coconut cream has been a staple in Asian cooking for centuries, particularly in regions where coconut palms thrive. In Thai cuisine, coconut cream forms the creamy base of iconic dishes like Massaman curry and Tom Kha soup. Its richness balances the spiciness of chilies and the tang of lime, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that dance on the palate. Similarly, in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, coconut cream adds a velvety smoothness to rendang and laksa, enhancing the complexity of these beloved dishes.

Enhancing Savory Delights:

Savory Asian cuisine takes on a luxurious dimension with the addition of coconut cream. In dishes like Thai green curry or Malaysian rendang, coconut cream brings a velvety texture and a subtle sweetness that balances the spices and elevates the overall flavor profile. Its richness melds seamlessly with aromatic herbs, bold spices, and tender meats or vegetables, creating a harmonious symphony of tastes and textures.

Similarly, coconut milk broth-based soup (Tom Kha Gai) showcases the luxuriousness of coconut cream, infusing the broth with a silky texture and a hint of sweetness. This beloved Thai soup, featuring tender chicken, galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves, exemplifies the art of blending bold flavors with the comforting richness of coconut cream. Whether used as a base for creamy soups, curries, or stir-fries, coconut cream adds a depth of complexity that transforms ordinary dishes into extraordinary culinary experiences.

Fusion Flavors and Creative Pairings:

Coconut cream’s versatility extends beyond traditional Asian recipes, inspiring product developers and chefs alike to experiment with fusion flavors and inventive pairings. In Filipino cuisine, for example, coconut cream adds a creamy richness to classic dishes like Bicol Express (a traditional Filipino dish typically made using pork slices cooked in coconut milk, shrimp paste, garlic, onions, and chili peppers) and Ginataang Kalabasa (another traditional Filipino dish made primarily with squash cooked in coconut milk, along with various seasonings and often shrimp, fish, or meat). However, some are also incorporating it into unconventional creations such as coconut cream-infused sushi rolls or coconut cream-based dipping sauces for dim sum. These innovative uses not only showcase coconut cream’s adaptability but also highlight its potential to bridge culinary traditions and inspire new experiences.

Vegan and Dairy-Free Delights:

One of the remarkable qualities of coconut cream is its ability to cater to dietary preferences and restrictions. As a plant-based ingredient, it serves as an excellent alternative to dairy cream in vegan and lactose-intolerant diets. By incorporating coconut cream into dishes such as vegan curries, stir-fries, and soups, the same luxurious texture and depth of flavor can be achieved without compromising on taste or authenticity. Additionally, coconut cream’s natural sweetness can balance out the heat of spices, making it a versatile ingredient for creating well-rounded vegan Asian cuisine.

Exploring Sweet Indulgences:

While coconut cream is commonly associated with savory dishes, its velvety texture and subtle sweetness also make it a delightful addition to desserts and sweet treats. In Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, coconut cream is a key ingredient in refreshing desserts like coconut milk ice cream, sticky rice with mango, and coconut flan. Its creamy consistency provides a luxurious mouthfeel, while its tropical flavor profiles perfectly complement the sweetness of fruits and the richness of desserts. Whether drizzled over fresh fruit, whipped into a mousse, or churned into ice cream, coconut cream adds a touch of indulgence to Asian-inspired sweets.


Coconut cream is more than just a culinary ingredient; it’s a symbol of the rich cultural heritage and culinary artistry of Asia and Thailand. Its velvety texture, delicate sweetness, and distinctive flavor elevate dishes to new heights, enticing food lovers around the world with every bite. Whether you’re savoring a comforting bowl of curry or indulging in a sweet tropical dessert, coconut cream is sure to captivate your senses and transport you on a culinary journey unlike any other.

iTi Tropicals is North America’s leading supplier of tropical fruit juices and concentrate. We supply conventional and organic coconut cream containing 24% fat.  To request a sample of our coconut cream, head to our contact page!

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