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!
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.
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:
- Take two coconuts. Stab a screw driver through the eyes of the coconut
- Reserve the water that comes out
- Bang the coconut on a rock to split it open (sometimes I just skip to this step and use an extra cup of water!)
- Pry out all of the white coconut flesh (I’m thinking about getting one of these coconut knives!)
- Put the coconut flesh along with the reserved water and 1-2 cups of filtered water into a blender
- Blend for 5 minutes or so
- 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: http://thehealthyfoodie.com/homemade-coconut-milk/
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?