Coconut milk is a very important ingredient in Thai, Indian and many other Asian recipes. Canned coconut milk is readily available in most grocery stores, but none can surpass the taste and freshness of home-made coconut milk. Making coconut milk at home can be as easy or difficult a task as you choose to make it. There are several ways to approach this and you can choose the method according to the time you have and effort you are willing to put in.
Method 1 – The easy one
1. Purchase unsweetened desiccated or shredded coconut. This is available in most Asian and Indian grocery stores.
2. Soak in lukewarm water for 30 minutes.
3. Grind in a mixer till thoroughly mixed. Pour over cheesecloth and collect the drained liquid.
4. The liquid obtained from this first go will be thicker and creamier, ideal for use in desserts and curries.
5. Once all the liquid is drained, add more water and drain over the cheesecloth. This will be thinner coconut milk, ideal for use in soups.
Method 2 – The tedious one
The only difference in this method is shredding the coconut. Rest of the process remains the same. This method gives better tasting coconut milk since we use fresh coconuts.
1. Choose a coconut that makes a splashing sound when you move it with your hand. The sound means that the coconut is ripe and ready.
2. Clean your kitchen sink, and put the stopper on. Take a wide vessel to collect the coconut water.
3. Put the wide vessel in the sink, put the coconut in it, and give it a sharp blow with a hammer. You might have to put in a couple of blows before the coconut breaks.
4. Collect the water in the vessel. Run this water through a sieve and drink it. It tastes delicious!
5. Use a coconut grater to grate the flesh from the shells.
6. Pour some hot water over the grated coconut, and some room-temperature water. Run through a blender / mixer.
7. Pour over cheesecloth and collect the drained liquid.
Enjoy your fresh coconut milk!