Saturday, April 16, 2011

Making Coconut Milk

I just made coconut milk! No, really-I made coconut milk! In my very own kitchen, I turned a whole coconut into delicious creamy milk! (Can you tell I'm a little bit proud of myself?)

It started just before dinnertime. I had some leftover rice in the fridge, so I was going to make my favorite red curry shrimp to go on top. It's a quick, easy, delicious meal. And then I remembered. The last time I went to the store, instead of picking up a half gallon of coconut milk, I had gotten a coconut.

Crap. I don't think that's going to work well in my shrimp dish. 

Thankfully, I was still full from a big lunch, so I whipped up a quick snack for the kids and set to work.

Step one was actually opening the nut. Let me tell you- these suckers are hard to open! The softest spot is called the "nose"- you'll find it on the bottom of the coconut, just under the "eyes". See the darkest spot there? That's what you want to aim for.

I wedged my knife in there and rocked it back and forth several times until I had a decent little hole, and then drained all the water into a bowl. I was totally surprised how much water there was in there! I thought it was just going to be a little bit. 

Then came the fun part- cracking the nut. I wrapped it in a large towel, set it on the floor, and gave it a couple of good whacks with my meat mallet. It popped right open! I'm pretty sure I actually said, "Cool!", out loud. I was geeking out by this point. I don't think I've ever seen the inside of a coconut, and I definitely haven't broken one open before! (Isn't it amazing how long we can go without really knowing where our food comes from?) 
Then came the tedious work of separating the meat from the husk. What a task. It was quite the job! I'm totally surprised I didn't cut or stab myself in the process. When I finally had the meat separated, I threw it in the blender with the coconut water and 1.5 cups of hot filtered water and turned it on high. And after just a minute or two of blending, I got coconut milk! I just strained it through a towel to separate the coconut shreds from the milk, and there it was! 
The glass on the left was almost full too- I used some of it to make my shrimp. 

I think making coconut milk is a little like childbirth. It was hard work. It took a long time. I was begging for some pain relief by the end. (Ok, not really.) But after tasting that sweet, sweet milk, I can't really remember how hard it was- I just can't wait to do it again! Seriously though- the homemade stuff tastes nothing like the coconut milk in the carton. The carton milk is okay for cooking with, but not really great for drinking, IMO. But this homemade milk is so sweet and creamy, and has a amazing flavor. You can swig it straight from the glass! YUM! 

I used the tutorial from here, so if you're looking for more detailed instructions, check it out! 


  1. That looks like hard work...but I do love coconuts!

  2. my family moved from brooklyn, new york to kingston, jamaica and we now have 5 coconut trees in our front yard. fresh coconut milk is the absolute best!!

  3. How cool, Rae! I would love it! I can't wait to get back to the store and get 2 or 3 more. :)

    DH and I went to Jamaica on our honeymoon- it's such a gorgeous place! Lots of poverty in some places as well. :/