One Thing I Miss From the US… and How I Make Do #1- Coconut Milk

Coconut tree outside of my house.

Coconut tree near my house.

I labeled this number one because after living overseas for four years there are a lot of things that I miss now and then so I expect I will blog about it in the future.  Clearly, I make do without a lot of things (especially while living in lovely Venezuela) and I really don’t mind most of the time.  One thing that really bummed me out when I could never find it last year is coconut milk.

I grew up entirely oblivious to coconut milk until I was about 15 and my high school Asian friends introduced me to a variety of dishes and drinks.  I didn’t start cooking with it until I was living on my own when I was 19.  Then I realized the joy of Asian markets where I could find coconut milk for 75 cents!  I have been cooking with it ever since then!

Coconut trees in front of my house

Coconut trees in front of my house

I was excited at the idea of living in a place where coconut trees were everywhere (including just outside my front door). I thought there must be coconut oil (only seen occasionally if I drive an hour to the big city), coconut milk (seen a few times a year in the local grocery stores), and shredded coconut (occasionally found in the baking isle) everywhere. Sadly, I could only find whole coconuts in grocery stores and fruit stands around town.

Halved coconut

Halved coconut photo cred

One day, I was talking with a local at school about how I wanted to make some Thai curry but I didn’t have any coconut milk.  She said, “why don’t you just make your own?” My jaw dropped. I was simply shocked. “People do this?”  I asked. “Of course!” she said.

Then she went about telling me the simplest way to make my own coconut milk:

  1. Take two coconuts. Stab a screw driver through the eyes of the coconut
  2. Reserve the water that comes out
  3. Bang the coconut on a rock to split it open (sometimes I just skip to this step and use an extra cup of water!)
  4. Pry out all of the white coconut flesh (I’m thinking about getting one of these coconut knives!)
  5. Put the coconut flesh along with the reserved water and 1-2 cups of filtered water into a blender
  6. Blend for 5 minutes or so
  7. Strain through a sieve. You might also use a nut milk bag to get out the most flavor and every last drop of milk, but I can’t find them here.

I do this one or twice a month and freeze the coconut milk in small jars for later use.

Here is a link to a wonderful page that follows about the same process but has lovely pictures since I was too lazy to take them:

 There is an affiliate link in this post so if you click on it I might get a few cents that I could use toward my student loans!

Have you ever made your own coconut milk? Do you have any great coconut recipes to share?


9 responses to “One Thing I Miss From the US… and How I Make Do #1- Coconut Milk

      • I love cooking for fun, and I fully appreciate nice sharp knives. It is the curved newness of this knife that bothers me. I still might get it while I’m home this summer because I use coconuts so often in my cooking. I also want a machete to more easily crack open the coconut, but the coconut knife might be the safer bet!


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