Making Coconut Milk

May 20, 2011 § 2 Comments

Coconut milk is one of my favorite foods. Or at least it is an ingredient in a lot of my favorite foods, most notably Thai curries. Mmm…I love Thai curries.  During our 150 days of eating within 150 miles, I didn’t make curry dishes as often as I normally do because, well, I am sure you can guess not many coconuts grow near Austin, TX.

But, coconuts are aplenty in Hawai’i. Even so, I have still bought canned coconut milk from the grocery store. And even the Hawaiian brands of coconut milk are made in Thailand.  So when a co-worker gave us some fresh coconuts, I set out to make my own coconut milk.

The hardest part was cracking the coconuts open.

I had some help from our friend, Dan, who was visiting on his way to Korea.

Together we hacked away at the husk…

Until finally….

…we reached the shell!

And then had to hack some more to open the coconut up and get to the good stuff.

I have a Hawai’i Farmers’ Market Cookbook, which explains two methods for cracking open a coconut. One is to tap around the middle of the coconut with a hammer, making an imaginary line, which should make the coconut split open. The other is to puncture the “eyes” of the coconut, drain the water, and place the coconut in the oven at 300 degrees for 45mins, and then tap with a hammer to crack it. I am sure both these methods do work, but I tried both to no avail. Maybe it helps if the shell is dry, and if you actually use a hammer (I didn’t have one, so I used a rock).

Eventually, we cracked both open with a rock.

I drained the water and scooped the meat out (the meat from the one I baked was warm and slightly toasty…mmm!)

Have you ever had coconut water? It’s very unique…pretty sweet, slightly more viscous than water, and very refreshing. It contains fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Though I could have used this water for making the milk, I couldn’t resist drinking it as is.

To make coconut milk, you pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 cups of grated coconut and let it stand for 20-25 minutes then strain though a cheesecloth. But I was impatient and didn’t plan enough time to prepare everything for dinner, so I took the expedited route and pureed the coconut meat with the boiling water in a food processor. If I wanted it to be more milky, I could have strained it, but I liked having little pieces of coconut meat in the milk (like pulpy orange juice, which I also love).

I used the coconut milk in this recipe for mango chicken curry. And it was delicious!

All of the vegetables and the mango were local. I was hoping to use local, organic chicken from Tin Roof Ranch. However, a bunch of their chickens were sadly attacked & killed by mongooses a few weeks prior. So I just used the one type of organic chicken sold at the near by grocery store. Evan and I both really liked this recipe, and I will probably be adding it to my regular recipe repertoire. I’m curious to try it with Texas peaches instead of mango…. I’ll let you know how that goes.

{The picture is not that pretty, but I assure you, it sure was tasty!}

Here is a just for fun picture of my husband tapping into his primal instincts and cracking open a coconut we found on the beach one day:


§ 2 Responses to Making Coconut Milk

  • Joanna says:

    You keep getting to make all my favorite things from scratch! It’s just too much. Jealousy has taken o’er me. Oh and amazing job on the coconut slaughter – that must take serious strength!

  • Love this! Yum, that curry looks SO good and I am just giggling thinking about you attacking that coconut. ;)

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