Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Homemade Coconut Milk



It was a dark and stormy night. Seriously--it was supposed to snow, if I recall correctly. I opened the cabinet to grab a can of coconut milk and my poor cupboard was bare (of coconut milk, anyway). Woe is me! It wasn't the type of night where a challenge was an exciting adventure. Noooo...it was the type of night that had me totally losing my mind in the kitchen while the Biggest Girl ran around, wailing and shrieking and very obviously feeding off my completely frazzled vibes. Mr. Mallard, meanwhile, wondered how both his ladies could spill all their marbles at the same time and assured us both we were not only pretty, but also very capable women. Using his superhero-like powers of being awesome, he managed to save us all from perishing of fits.

In the process of restoring calm, we discovered we can make our own coconut milk. Silver lining to the freakout! woohoo!

You will need:
1 to 1-1/2 cups hot water
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut, preferably organic and sulfite free

Heat the water, but do not let it boil. Pour the water over the coconut and let it steep for about 30 minutes. After steeping, use a blender or hand mixer to pulse a few times before blending for a minute or so. Slowly pour the resulting coconut mess through a fine mesh strainer, stopping from time to time to squeeze the moisture out of the coconut that ends up in the strainer. 

That's it. You're done. Less water will give you a creamier milk, while more water will, obviously, give you a thinner milk that's well-suited for soups, curries and the like. 

And here are four reasons you should give this a whirl:
1. The coconut milk you make will be soooo much tastier, thereby rendering whatever you're making that much tastier. 
2. No can to recycle. Buy the coconut in bulk and you eliminate the need for packaging. Use a reusable container when you get your bulk coconut and you'll be rockin' a zero-waste coconut milk.
3. No preservatives to help stabilize the milk while it sits in the can for a couple years means no preservatives in your culinary masterpiece. Plus, you won't have to worry about what might be seeping into the milk as the lining on the can degrades over time. BPA--it's in there!
4. It's incredibly inexpensive--about fifty cents per batch. Each batch makes roughly a can and the good ones go for about $2.45 here. That means I've got $1.95 to blow on a fancy scone the next time I'm near the bakery case and feel the need to reward myself for simply making it out into the world. Perfecto. 

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