Tuesday, August 12, 2014
DIY Coconut Milk
I am so psyched about how wonderful homemade coconut milk tastes that I simply had to share the method as soon as possible. I use coconut milk all the time - in baking, cooking, or even poured over my cereal as a non-dairy substitute. The problem is that coconut milk normally runs at around $2.99 per can, which is a little bit steep. When I came across an article detailing how easy it is to make coconut milk at home, I had to test it immediately. Now I can't stop. Shredded coconut is so cheap in the bulk section of our store (like $0.99/pound) that this may very well become a way to cut down on our grocery budget. As an additional incentive, homemade coconut milk tastes so much better than canned coconut milk. I have no idea why - and maybe this is all completely in my head just because I feel so proud of my homemade batches - but I do find it more creamy, pure, and rich tasting.
Coconut milk could not be more easy to make. All you need are equal parts shredded, unsweetened coconut and water. Plus a dash of baking soda at the end. That's it.
First, the water is brought to just under a boil - or to about 200 degrees. The temperature is important since water that is too hot will cause the mixture to take on a curdled appearance. The hot water is mixed with the shredded coconut and the entire mixture is blended at high speed for two minutes. Then, it is poured through a fine-mesh strainer. Be sure to press on the solid coconut left behind in the strainer with a spatula to extract as much of the yummy liquid as possible. Discard any remaining solids and allow the milk to cool for about 15 minutes.
Whisk in a touch of baking soda to keep the milk mixture more alkaline and thus further discourage the proteins from clumping. Voila! Coconut milk!
Keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Delicious in all kinds of Thai dishes, oatmeal, smoothies, curries, rice pudding...oh the list is endless!
Homemade Coconut Milk
adapted slightly from Cook's Illustrated
1 3/4 cups water
1 3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pour the unsweetened coconut into a blender. In a small saucepan, bring the water to near boiling, or to about 200 to 205 degrees. I used my instant-read thermometer to keep track of the water temperature. Don't let it get too hot before adding the coconut or it will curdle. Pour into the blender with the unsweetened shredded coconut. Process for 2 minutes. Transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over large measuring cup and press to extract as much liquid as possible; let cool for 15 minutes. Transfer shredded coconut to clean dish towel in large bowl. Gather sides of dish towel around coconut and squeeze remaining milk into measuring cup. Whisk baking soda into milk. Discard shredded coconut and use milk as desired or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. This recipe makes the equivalent of one 13.5 ounce store-bought can of coconut milk but doubles or triples easily!