Friday, November 25, 2011

How To: Make Your Own Coconut Milk, and a Sorbet

Eat coconuts while you have teeth. – Singhalese Proverb

Homemade coconut milk. Photo: elana's pantry, Flickr ccl
** I just made this coconut milk. See notes at bottom for an update**

For some reason coconuts were on sale at certain grocery stores in Halifax last week. Three for $5 – an unheard of price. Either they were going bad, or there’s a glut.

Photo: SingChan, Flickr ccl
I resisted the urge to buy three but one did seem to drop into my shopping basket. They’re such an odd thing. Who actually eats a whole one anyway? Unless you grate it and dry your own (another good thing to do) there’s always waste.

I’ve decided my nut will become coconut cream and coconut milk. This is NOT to be confused with the coconut water which occurs naturally in the centre of the nut. This involves rendering, where the actual fat and tasty goodness of the flesh is extracted and thick, delicious milk is the result. 

I have to deal with my coconut tonight. I make a fair bit of Thai food so using coconut milk isn’t a worry for me. For those of you who prefer something a bit more on the milder side I’ve included a recipe at the bottom of this post for Coconut Lime Sorbet. Very easy.

Don’t worry if you missed the sale. You can also make coconut milk from bags of grated coconut in the baking section of the grocery store. Just make sure you don’t buy the sweetened. Plain coconut meat is what you need for this.

You can also use coconut milk to culture yogurt, and if you have spare kéfir grains, in that as well. So try to make some soon, and drop me a note as to how it turns out.

Photo: sweetbeetandgreenbean, Flickr ccl
Coconut Milk using Fresh Coconut
2-1/2 cups grated coconut
5 cups water (see bottom note)
The ratio of fresh grated coconut to water is 1:2 so make any amount you wish

Put coconut flakes and water into a saucepan and gently simmer for about 6-7 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and then blend the coconut and water for a minute. Take care it doesn’t “spit” out the top. Strain the milk through a jelly bag or colander filled with clean cotton cloth.

This “first” pressing is coconut cream. Repeat with more water for coconut milk, but simmer the coconut and milk for 10-12 minutes. Then squeeze result through muslim or cloth.

Coconut Lime Sorbet. Photo: joyosity, Flickr ccl
Coconut milk using Unsweetened Shredded
5 cups desiccated coconut
5 cups water
Ratio is 1:1

Double the simmering time. All other directions remain the same.

Coconut Lime Sorbet
1-3/4 cup cream of coconut* (or one 15 oz can)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil (optional)

Combine all in the container of an ice cream machine and freeze according to the time dictated by your particular machine.

If you don't have a machine you can do it in a metal pan. Whisk every so often as the liquid freezes. Then place in a container.

*Note: Cream of coconut is thicker than coconut milk. It is the first rendering of the coconut flesh from the top recipe. The second rendering is the "milk." Or so I've been told...

**Notes from the recipe: I used fresh coconut and was wondering a little why the dried had less water than the fresh in its prep. I think the ratio should be 1:1 coconut to water for either recipe. So use 2.5 cups water – not 5. There's no way I'll get "cream" from what I did.

**Another note: take as much of the brown "skin" off the fresh coconut. It turns the finished product a little grey. It's only cosmetic, but if using desiccated coconut you wouldn't have this problem.


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