Coconut milk is regular milk flavored by steeping it with raw coconut. The lowfat version uses lowfat milk.
You can make your own using nonfat milk or evaporated skim milk, which would lower the calories by quite a bit. I don't know how to calculate the points, though, because I don't know if any of the fat from the coconut stays in the milk after you've strained it. If it doesn't, it would be the same points as nonfat milk (plus the sugar, if you've added any).
Unfortunately, my recipe with the proportions of coconut to milk is in a file I haven't seen since we moved a few months ago (it's probably in a box in the garage
), but I can tell you the basic technique and give you some tips.
First, most recipes call for raw, unsweetened coconut. The only way I can get that where I live is to buy a whole coconut, husk it, dig out the meat and shred or grate it myself. There are health food stores that carry raw unsweetened coconut. If you don't want to deal with a whole coconut and can find only sweetened coconut in your markets, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.
If you want to sweeten it with artificial sweetener, I suggest that you let it cool to room temperature before you add the sweetener. I don't use sweeteners so I don't know if they have invented any (and made them available to the consumer) that don't break down with cooking or baking.
Regarding the strainer--You can use cheesecloth or a coffee filter if you don't have a super fine strainer. If I were making vanilla milk, I wouldn't use a coffee filter, though, because I want to keep the tiny vanilla seeds in the mixture and the coffee filter would filter them out. If you never make stock or anything that requires a large fine mesh strainer, which is a pretty expensive piece of equipment, a clean gold coffee filter works really well for about $15-20. They also make the best coffee and are great for straining yogurt, but those are topics for another post.
The basic technique is the same for any flavored milk. Some examples are the coconut milk we're discussing; vanilla milk, made with vanilla beans; and almond milk, made with toasted almonds.
You put your ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. If sugar is one of the ingredients, stir the mixture while it's heating until the sugar dissolves. Heat the milk mixture until it starts to bubble around the edges, but is not boiling. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let it steep for 10 minutes or so. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer. Some recipes call for cooling it to room temperature before you use it and some work with it while it's still hot.
Anyway, making real coconut milk that 's also nonfat (or super low in fat, since there is none in the milk) is really easy and doesn't take very much time (as long as you can find raw, shredded or flaked coconut meat).
Hope this helps you folks who enjoy Pacific Rim foods like I do.