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Recipe Coconut Milk
Coconut Milk, What Is Coconut Milk
Firstly, a brief explanation about what coconut milk is. Coconut milk is an extract from the coconut, it is not related to the water that is found in coconuts. Many people think that, the best way to make coconut milk is to boil grated coconut in dairy milk. The recipe for coconut milk provided below will answer your question 'what is coconut milk?'. Coconut milk has been used in food for many decades, delicious dishes including sweet desserts are made using coconut milk. Traditional Thai food has made innovative use of coconut milk. Recipes range from, the hot and spicey 'Tom Kha' to the mouth watering recipe of 'Bananas In Coconut Milk'. You could drive to the supermarket and buy a container of readymade coconut milk, but for true lovers of home cooking, the option of home made coconut milk is irresistable.
Coconut Milk Recipe
If you are looking for the coconut milk recipe it would mean that, you have decided to make the coconut milk yourself and not buy readymade coconut milk. There is actually more than one way in which coconut milk can be made, we will provide the coconut milk recipe for each of these options. The first recipe for coconut milk would be with fresh grated coconut pulp. The second coconut milk recipe would use dry 'dessicated' coconut. We will also provide the coconut milk recipe that uses coconut powder, also called coconut cream powder. You can make your coconut milk based on which of these materials are conveniently available to you.
Before we start discussing the various recipes to make coconut milk, we would like to mention that coconut cream and coconut milk are two different things. Food recipes that use coconut milk cannot be made with coconut cream and vice versa. However the good part is that, both coconut cream and coconut milk have a similar making process. Coconut milk has a thinner consistency as compared to coconut cream. Cooking books often explain the difference between coconut cream and coconut milk by mentioning that, coconut milk is of a 'pourable' consistency whereas coconut cream has an almost 'spreadable' consistency. This might not be perfect English but it provides a clear indication of these two coconut preparations.
Recipe I: Coconut milk using fresh coconut: In this coconut milk recipe, fresh coconut pulp is finely grated. The grated coconut pulp is then put in a vessel, hot water is poured over the coconut pulp. For proportions, 1 cup of hot water could be added to 1 cup of grated coconut pulp. Leave the contents in the vessel for around 5 minutes, make sure that the contents in the vessel have cooled down sufficiently before handling. In the traditional process, the soaked coconut pulp is pressed in the hand to extract the liquid. Some cooks place another vessel in the vessel that holds the soaked coconut pulp and press the vessel down to extract the liquid. In both cases you will need a fine sieve or cloth to strain the liquid and keep out the coconut flesh. It is important to note that once the liquid is extracted, hot water can once again be poured on the same coconut pulp to make another extract. The first extract that is taken is quite thick in consistency and is more suitable for recipes that need coconut cream. The second extract would be a bit thinner and is ideally suited to be used as coconut milk. You will soon get the ideal proportion of coconut pulp and milk after following this coconut milk recipe a few times.
Recipe II: Coconut milk using dried coconut: Dried coconut is also referred to as dessicated coconut and can be used to make coconut milk. The recipe for coconut milk using dried coconut is quite similar to the coconut milk recipe that uses fresh coconut pulp. Dessiccated coconut is normally sold in powdered form. Remember that this is dried coconut powder and not coconut milk powder (not cream of coconut powder). Take 500 grams of dried coconut in a vessel, to this add 2.5 cups of hot water. Leave the vessel aside for around 15-20 minutes. Making coconut milk with dessiccated coconut powder, requires a higher soaking time as compared to the coconut milk recipe that uses fresh coconut (grated) pulp. You will then need to use a fine sieve or clean muslin cloth to strain out the extract. Squeeze as hard as possible, once again the first extract can be used for dishes that need coconut cream. Add hot water the pulp and once again do the straining after 10-15 minutes, the extract now will be much thinner and can be used for recipes that use coconut milk.
Recipe III: Coconut Milk Powder: Many Asian grocery stores and supermarkets sell coconut milk powder, this is sometimes sold as coconut cream powder. Making coconut milk from this is an easy process. All you need to do is follow the instructions mentioned on the packet. Coconut cream can be made from this coconut milk powder by using a lesser proportion of water as compared to that used to make coconut milk. Keep the unused coconut milk powder dry and tightly seal the packet. It can then be stored in the refrigerator for future use. You should keep in mind that, dry or dessiccated coconut and coconut milk powder are not the same. The recipe to make coconut milk from dry coconut powder has been provided above in Recipe II.
Storing Coconut Milk
The coconut milk recipe I and II, will provide you with coconut milk and coconut cream that cannot be stored for long. Ideally, make sufficient coconut milk or coconut cream needed for each cooking session. Some cook books suggest freezing the remaining coconut milk, but we would not suggest that option. Coconut could get a pronounced rancid flavour when not fresh and this could ruin your cooking. If you use the Recipe III to make your coconut milk or coconut cream, the dry unused coconut milk powder can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed packet.
Thai Dessert, Bananas In Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is an important ingredient in Thai cooking. A variety of dishes use coconut milk and this is why it is extremely easy to find coconut milk in Thailand. Coconut milk is used in hot and spicey dishes and also in delicious desserts. Two popular Thai desserts that use coconut milk are the irresistable 'mango with sticky rice' and 'bananas cooked in coconut milk'. You should be aware that stale coconut milk does not taste good and has a rancid flavour.
Some Tips On Coconut Milk
You will sometimes find a brownish color in coconut milk. This generally happens when you purchase fresh coconut milk that is sold in the markets. There are two ways to make coconut milk from fresh coconut. One method is to use a hand held scraper and scrape the flesh from inside the shell. The coconut flesh in this case would not consist of the brownish skin that normally adheres to the coconut flesh. Coconut milk made with this process would therefore appear very white and not have particles of the brown skin. Another process uses a machine into which small coconut pieces are dropped. These pieces often have some portions of the brown skin attached to them. The machine then crushes the coconut pieces and extracts coconut milk and coconut cream. The brownish particles in this case are nothing but the coconut skin that remained stuck to the coconut pieces.
When you refrigerate coconut milk that has been made or purchased from the grocery store, you could find that a hard top layer is formed on the surface. This is because of the solidification of the oils in the coconut milk. This could occur with readymade coconut milk or coconut milk that you have made at home. It does not mean that you have not followed the coconut milk recipe correctly. All you need to do is take the coconut milk out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Then use a spoon and stir the coconut milk, the oils will then melt and the original consistency of the coconut milk will be reached.
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