Coconut milk is a very tasty, versatile ingredient. I use it often in my cooking as it adds lots of creaminess and flavor to both sweet and savory recipes.
This plant-based milk is also very nutritious. It is rich in MCT’s, -healthy fatty acids-, minerals such as manganese, selenium and copper, vitamins and protein.
When I’m in a hurry I use canned coconut milk.
I always make sure to buy natural brands with pure ingredients and BPA-free cans.
But did you know it’s very easy to make your own coconut milk from fresh coconut?
I’m a big fan of homemade because it gives you a very fresh, pure product. You know exactly what you put in there and it’s made on the spot.
Aside from being healthier, it is also much more sustainable because you save packaging and distribution resources.
But most of all: the taste is incomparable!
If you’ve ever tried homemade coconut milk, you know that it’s much richer in taste, creamier and just so much better than any store-bought coconut milk.
You can use coconut milk in many kinds of desserts, soups, baked goods, curries, cold and hot drinks etc. It’s also great for your skin and hair.
How to make your own coconut milk from fresh coconut
You need mature, brown coconut, which you can buy in most health-food stores, Asian markets and some supermarkets.
Test the freshness of the coconut by shaking it. You should hear the water inside sloshing around.
If you don’t hear any water, pick a different one.
Also make sure to check that there is no mold anywhere on the coconut.
To open the coconut, use a screwdriver to make a whole through one of the 3 eyes in the bottom of the coconut.
Put the coconut upside down on top of a glass and let the coconut water come out.
If the coconut water is still good, you can keep it and use it in a smoothie or drink it as is if you like the flavor.
Some people use the coconut water to make the coconut milk with, but I prefer to only use the meat and add regular water.
Make sure to smell the coconut water to make sure that it hasn’t gone acidic.
This can happen if the coconut has been lying around for a bit, especially if you live somewhere where coconuts don’t grow and need to be imported.
It should smell sweet and coconutty, if you detect any acidity, throw it out.
Break the coconut open by hitting it with a hammer in the middle while turning it around until it cracks open.
Remove the coconut meat by carefully sticking a knife between the coconut meat and the shell.
The coconut meat should be white and smell good. Make sure it doesn’t have any yellow, dark or moldy spots.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the brown skin off.
Cut the coconut in small chunks and grate them. You can go old-school style and do it by hand or use a food processor to help you out.
I prefer using a food processor and rarely do it by hand anymore as it just..takes so much longer!
From coconut meat to milk
Add hot water to the grated coconut. The high temperature helps extract the fat from the coconut and you want it to be very creamy. Let it sit for a few minutes.
You need about 2.5 cups of grated coconut for 4 cups of liquid.
To make thicker coconut milk, use less water.
If you have a strong blender, you can use it to puree the coconut, otherwise use a food processor.
Take a big bowl, cover it with a cheese cloth or nut milk bag or pass the coconut mix through a fine sieve.
Press the mix with a wooden kitchen tool or with clean hands to get all the coconut milk out.
You can repeat the process another time or two. Each batch will be a bit thinner, but still creamy and coconutty.
The remains of the coconut meat can be used to make your own coconut flour.
Dry it in the oven and grind it. Now you have your own gluten-free coconut flour that is very rich in fibre. You can use it for baking and cooking.
I’ll do a post about coconut flour soon!
How to make coconut milk when you don’t have fresh coconut? Super easy.
You can also make coconut milk with unsweetened shredded coconut, which is much less work.
Pour the shredded coconut in the blender, add hot water and let it sit for 2 hours so the liquid can absorb.
Then repeat the process as with the freshly grated coconut.
The coconut milk is best used right away, but you can store it in a sealed bootle or container in the fridge for a day or 2 max.
Some people like to add a bit of extra flavor to their coconut milk such as vanilla extract, Himalaya salt or Stevia liquid.
I like to keep mine natural so that I can use it for different things, but feel free to experiment with it!
If you don’t have the time to make your own coconut milk, you can also buy a good quality ready-made one.
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Here are some recipes that you can use your homemade coconut milk for:
Massaman curry with sweet potatoes
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