I love coconut milk, but it either comes in tetra paks or in cans lined with plastic that most likely contains BPA. So I learned to make it myself. There are two ways to do this. You can use either a whole fresh coconut or dried coconut. This recipe uses a whole coconut, but I’ll do another post that uses dried coconut instead at some point.
To make coconut milk, you’ll need to buy a coconut. When you buy a fresh coconut, hold it up to your ear and shake it. You should hear the water sloshing around inside. If you don’t hear anything, the coconut is overripe and isn’t suitable for making coconut milk. Next, make sure the coconut is free of cracks and punctures.
To crack open the coconut, locate the dark indentations around the top. There should be a seam running between them. Find the seam and follow it with your finger to the equator of the coconut.
Next, place the coconut over a bowl and hit the seams with a rolling pin. (A hammer works, but I couldn’t find one.) Turn the coconut so that you hit each seam. This can get a bit messy, so you may want to do this outside, which is what I did. After a few strikes, the coconut juice will start coming out. Drain it completely over a bowl. Set the juice aside.
After the juice has drained out, continue to hit the coconut until it breaks open. Ideally it will break in half, but don’t worry if it doesn’t. This particular one didn’t. I’ve had ones that did though.
Next, wrap the coconut in a towel. Hit it with a rolling pin until it breaks into smaller pieces. These will be easier to work with.
Take the pieces inside. Using a small paring knife, pry the hard shell off the meat.
There will be another layer of skin that can be peeled off with a vegetable peeler.
Repeat for the rest of the pieces.
Chop the larger pieces into smaller one-inch chunks.
Put these pieces into a blender along with the reserved coconut juice and 2 cups of water.
Blend for two to three minutes.
Pour through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. I didn’t have any cheesecloth, so I used a clean cloth napkin.
Squeeze all the liquid you can out of the pulp. The bowl underneath will be filled with delicious homemade coconut milk. Refrigerate. It may separate, but don’t worry. This is normal.
By the way, don’t throw out the pulp. You can dehydrate it (either in your oven or in a dehydrator) and use it in baked goods. I didn’t have the time to dehydrate mine, so I put it in the fridge and will do it later.