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Friday, October 30, 2009

how to make coconut milk

Canned coconut milk, like canned anything, is far inferior to the real deal. And of course, it takes a lot more energy to produce canned food than to prepare fresh food! Coconuts are, of course, never local or in season to Northern California. Thus i do not consume them regularly, however, there is nothing like a spicy Thai curry on a cold night, served with a green papaya salad and some rice and some stir fried veggies.

Making your own coconut milk is quite a simple task to accomplish and you only need one tool, a blender.

First, you will need to remove the coconut from its shell. With a hammer and chisel, knock out the 3 eyes at the top of the coconut. Pour out the delicious water into a glass and consume heartily.
Place the coconut in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and with your hammer, smash the coconut in half (do that step outside for easier cleanup!). Then gently pry the coconut from its shell. The heat helps separate and loosen it up but be careful not to actually cook the coconut. Discard the shell to the compost pile.

Cut the coconut in small pieces and place in a blender with 4 cups boiling water. Puree the coconut for 30 seconds to a minute.
Place a piece of cheesecloth in a colander and place the colander over a large pot. Strain the coconut milk through the cheesecloth by pouring the whole contents of the blender in to the cloth. Squeeze the "milk" out of the cheesecloth and return the shredded coconut to the blender. Add 4 cups more boiling water and repeat the process.

The first rinse is coconut cream and is incredibly rich in flavor and nutrients and has an amazing texture. The second rinse is coconut milk and has less flavor and less silky of a texture but is still delightful. I usually combine the 2 rinses together and proceed with whatever recipe i am creating.

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