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I’ll pass on the coconut

Q. I would love to try some Indian dishes, but most of the recipes I’ve found call for coconut milk, and I’m allergic to it. What can I substitute for coconut milk? —Brian, Appleton

A. It really depends upon the recipe as to what will make a reasonable substitute for coconut milk. To substitute for a distinct ingredient like coconut milk, there are really two factors: replacing the flavor and replacing the texture. If you are allergic to coconut, it might be difficult to substitute for the flavor, although it is possible that there may be some imitation coconut flavorings that do not actually contain coconut as an ingredient. As for the texture, there are a number of things you could try. My first suggestion would be evaporated milk. Another suggestion would be to thicken some milk or stock (or a combination thereof) with a little roux, corn starch or flour slurry. Any of these should provide you with a reasonable substitute for coconut milk. I hope I answered your question and best of luck in your pursuit, Brian!

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