During my experimental phase when I was trying to not eat dairy ( and it was so hard to give up cheese and yogurt) I tried to “milk” anything. One of my favorite and also easiest milking procedures is making fresh coconut milk.
Of course, living in South East Europe doesn’t make it a great place to grow coconuts, so I usually use the brown coconut, not the green fresh one you may find in tropical climates.
I loathe the days when coconut trees grew inside the hotel premises when I was in Indonesia, and coconut milk was a thick, fresh yogurt like consistency you ate with a spoon. And how eating it for breakfast with the sweet ripe small bananas grown in the island was a highlight of those relaxing days.
Back to autumn in the Balkans, I try to use the coconuts that have water inside (you can check it by shaking them). Those that do not have water most likely have gone bad.
What’s the procedure?
Gather the ingredients:
Coconut ( I usually use one at a time, a regular size)
1-2 cups of water (depending on how thick you prefer it)
1-2 teaspoons of Honey ( or any other sweetener like stevia, agave syrup, maple syrup, dates)
Any other optional flavourings like vanilla pods, cinnamon…
Start by cracking open the coconut. If you want to use the coconut water inside, first you have to open one of the three wholes on top of the coconuts, and usually one of them is not covered with the thick, hard shell. I use one chopstick to open one of the wholes and then pour out the water. You can drink it as it is or use it for the milk. Crack open the coconut by hitting it with the back of a big knife in a circular motion for a couple of rounds. It should start cracking and then open up in two halves. Use a thin knife to scoop out the flesh. I have heard that some people like to peel the flesh (get rid of the brown skin) but I usually leave it on. Put the coconut flesh, water (coconut water as well), sweetener and any flavouring inside a high speed blender and blend, blend, blend. I usually blend it for 2-3 minutes on low speed then give it a rest. Then two more 2-3 minutes intervals until it becomes creamy. After you like the consistency and you are tired of hearing the loud blender noise, strain it using a fine mesh. Be sure to squeeze out all of the liquid. And there you have fresh homemade coconut milk. I find that it usually doesn’t last very long, 2-3 days, and it definitely needs to be kept in the fridge. What is left in the fine mesh after I squeeze out all the milky liquid doesn’t necessarily need to be thrown away. If you dry/bake it in the oven you can have shredded coconut which has many other uses.
What can I do with Coconut milk?
Except of using it like dairy milk in coffee or smoothies, I really like to use it in soups, curry dishes, ice cream, desserts and whatever I feel like might be a good match ( like in my Mung Bean “porridge”).