Most people in the United States who’ve tried Coconut Milk most likely purchased some prepackaged version from the shelf of their local grocery store… Yuck!!!! Any true Coconut aficionado knows that Coconut milk must be made from the comfort of your own home in order to taste great.
There is a huge difference in the taste of a store bought version of coconut milk and the real thing! Why you might ask? Real coconut milk only lasts a few days, so all store bought brands have preservatives.
Plus, what could be better than squeezing fresh coconut milk with your bare hands? That’s where the love comes into play.
Coconut milk has proven to be a fantastic alternative for those of us who love eating creamy food but have a gluten or dairy intolerance. For us, coconut is always our first option when a dish calls for milk. The best part of using coconut milk is that it adds an unparalleled freshness to any plate!
Are you a fan of Asian cooking? If so you should be familiar with the extensive use of coconut milk in many dishes. One of the main reasons is because it’s readily available and fairly inexpensive! Additionally, using fresh coconut while cooking helps mild down the spiciness of the dish.
You can easily find a bag of unadulterated, shredded coconut online or (if you’re lucky) your local supermarket sells fresh coconut meat, but coconut milk is a different story. It can’t be dried or preserved without losing some of its special deliciousness.
How to Make Coconut Milk at Home
If you think that making coconut milk will be a tricky task, think again! Get ready to see how truly easy it can be to make a bowl of fresh coconut milk in the comfort of your own home!
What you Need
1 cup Coconut meat
2 cups Water
The first step is to get your hands on some coconut meat. As previously mentioned, either purchase this online or go find a nice mature coconut.
Protip: as coconuts mature, the water content decreases and the meat content increases. If you are opting for a fresh coconut, don’t choose a young coconut or it will only have pulp, no meat. This isn’t a bad thing as the pulp is delicious and the water is much sweeter but when making coconut milk, the thicker the meat the better the milk.
Crack the coconut in half and grate the white meat (or just use measure out your shredded coconut) and blend it with the water. We like to use the ratio of 2 cups of water to 1 cup of coconut meat but you should play around with the recipe to find what you like.
Now for the fun part! Once the whole mixture is blended into a consistent paste, take it out and strain it through a cheesecloth or a muslin cloth. Squeeze and squeeze some more to get as much of the liquid out as you can.
Let the liquid sit overnight.
The next day you will see that the cream rises to the top and the “skim milk” sits underneath. We like to cook with the cream so we always set that aside but a lot of people like to stir it together for a thick “whole milk” version.
Voila… There you have it… Fresh Homemade Coconut Milk!
And—if you’re really feeling special, add some raw vanilla, cayenne, or cinnamon to give it an extra kick!
3 Recipes for Your Homemade Coconut Milk
You can make curries, soups, stews and even sweets by using coconut milk. Our team uses fresh coconut milk on such a regular basis, we could swap recipe stories all day. Here are a few team favorites.
Chia Pudding Breakfast
This is so easy. Take a half a cup of chia seeds, and about 2 cups of coconut milk (play with the recipe if you would like to). Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a handful of your favorite fruit.
There are two ways to make this dish.
1—Overnight. Add your ingredients all together in a mason jar before you go to bed. Shake it to get it equally combined. Leave it in the fridge and when you wake up, you’ll have a chilled, yummy breakfast ready to go.
2—On the Spot. This is a warm pudding, but it is so delicious. Add your ingredients together over low heat and stir occasionally while you’re getting ready for your day. After 20 minutes or so you’ll have a delicious, warm breakfast. (Fyi-Apples are great here)
Roasted Chicken Dinner
How do you roast your chicken?
We suggest putting it in a pan and adding your fresh coconut milk, along with spices like pepper, cayenne, chive, and garlic. Roast is for 25-45 minutes (depending on your chicken) at 375 degrees F. The coconut milk in this dish helps keep the chicken moist and allows the spices to infuse evenly.
Serve it up with your favorite seasonal sauteed veggies and suddenly you have a delicious, healthy dinner that is easy to make.
A “Fancy” (Easy) Dessert
Another simple dish with loads of flavor. You need cinnamon, “whole” coconut milk, fresh strawberries, pitted dates, and fresh mint leaves.
Heat ½ cup of fresh “whole” coconut milk over low heat uncovered and add a lot of cinnamon. We think it’s best with a lot of cinnamon - maybe even a teaspoon (but do this to taste). This will remove the water and make it a bit thick—that’s what you want! Stir it every few minutes and don’t let it burn.
While your coconut milk is simmering, slice the strawberries into thin pieces.
Open the dates in the middle (pitted dates are typically sliced down the middle already) and place the strawberry slices inside of the date.
Arrange these nicely on a plate—for two people 10-20 are is enough.
When your coconut milk is thick and a little gooey, drizzle it over top of the strawberry/dates.
Top a few with fresh mint leaves.
Yum! It’s ready to eat and very pretty. Perfect for date night.
What’s your favorite Coconut Milk Recipe? Share it in the comments!
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