Homemade Coconut Milk – creamy white non-dairy coconut milk made from fresh coconut OR with coconut flakes. A great addition to soups, stews, curries, smoothies and even baked goods. Fresh with rich taste and very versatile!
Feeling a little adventurous? Longing for something that is wholesome to kickstart the year?
Then run to the supermarket and grab yourself 2 or maybe 3 coconuts, but wait…ok, just a caveat, breaking coconuts might quite scare you, but fear not. Grab some unsweetened coconut flakes instead and head home.
You see, I started making coconut milk when I was about 12 years old to cook coconut rice (Oh, how I dreaded this process). We had to use a grater to grate the coconut and needless to say, it is NOT one of my favorite things to do. So as an adult, I completely wiped out this process from my memory, often resorting to canned coconut milk for all my cooking and baking needs.
But in this recipe, I will teach you T-W-O ways on how you can make your own coconut milk at home!
What is Coconut Milk?
Well, coconut milk isn’t MILK in the dairy sense like your regular milk in cartons. It is basically made from the shredded white meat of a coconut – that one you see when you crack open a mature coconut. It is then blended with water until smooth.
Coconut milk is often used in Southeast Asian cooking, Oceania, South Asia, East, and West Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.
Coconut Milk Benefits
I’m no doctor, but from what I knew, if you’re following a dairy-free diet or plainly lactose intolerant, coconut milk should be your best friend.
But as always, coconut milk should also be in moderation. Although it’s naturally rich in fiber, vitamins C and E -among others- calcium and boatloads of other good stuff, you also need to take it in moderation as it contains high levels of calories and fats.
Coconut Cream vs Coconut Milk
Don’t be confused with these two. In general, the difference between coconut cream and coconut milk is their consistency. Coconut cream is much thicker, richer and fattier but with a lower water content than coconut milk. It is that thick, semi-solid stuff that floats to the top of a normal can of coconut milk. You can use it to add a nice thickness to any dish without affecting that much the flavor.
Then there’s coconut milk. It has a more translucent appearance that closely resembles to your usual milk. This is what we would usually use on soups, sauces and baking goods. This coconut milk contains a massive amount of calories, so use it sparingly or dilute with water, like the one you get at the grocery store.
How to Make Coconut Milk
I’ve been meaning to do a video for this recipe and finally, here it is. It’s how we usually do it back in Cameroon.
- Just crack open the coconut using the blunt side of a cleaver or hammer and then split it into two.
- As for getting the coconut meat, you can do the hard route by manually carving it out from the shell OR placing it in the oven about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F to loosen up the flesh off the shell.
- Chop the coconut meat, add water and blend until a fine consistency.
- Using a cheesecloth, sieve the mixture and squeeze really tight to extract all the milk. And there you go!
Coconut Milk Recipes
Just our little secret, I could actually drink up this fresh homemade coconut, but not the canned coconut milk. The homemade one just tastes SO AMAZING! But aside from drinking it straight off the bottle, you can also use it to make the following below:
- Braised Chicken in Coconut Milk
- Coconut Cream Pie
- Coconut Rice
- Coconut Bread
- Samoan Coconut Bread Rolls (Pani Popo)
- Coconut Shrimp
Watch How To Make It
Homemade Coconut Milk
Using fresh coconut
- 1 coconut
- 1 ½ - 2 cups water
Using Coconut flakes
- 2 cups coconut flakes
- 4 cups water
- Coffee grinder
- cheese cloth
- Hit hard the middle of a coconut with a blunt side of a cleaver or hammer, just enough to crack it. Rotate the coconut, continuing to hit it at the center with the hammer or cleaver. It will split in two eventually at the center.
- Place it in the oven for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees F to facilitate removal of the flesh from the shell. Let it cool. Use a spoon to remove the coconut from the shell.
- Using a sharp knife or a potato peeler, peel the skin off the coconut or you can chop it without peeling.
- If using coconut flakes, soak coconut flakes with warm water for about 2 -4 hours and continue with the next steps. Ratio of coconut is one cup coconut flakes and two cups water.
- Blend coconut in a blender (Blendtec or Vitamix preferably) on high into a fine consistency.
- Sieve the coconut mixture using a cheesecloth. Squeeze really tight to extract all the milk. Save the milk.