-Submitted by Dahlia
(Extracting Milk from Coconut, Milk of Coconut, Thenga Paal, How to take coconut milk at home?)
Coconut milk is widely used in cooking in many Asian countries. It is used to make curries, rice dishes, beverages and desserts. While coconut milk is easily available these days in canned and powdered form, it is one of the simplest things to make fresh at home. People who are used to the taste of fresh homemade coconut milk do not enjoy the commercially sold ones. In Indian cooking, it is used in making sweetened coconut milk, coconut pulao, sol kadhi, coconut milk chutney and many other dishes.
Coconut milk can be made at home by processing the grated coconut with some warm water to extract the fatty milk. Unsweetened desiccated coconut or frozen coconut can also be used to extract milk. Using warm water to extract the coconut milk gives richer milk than when cold water is used. Generally, 1 cup of grated coconut yields 2 cups of coconut milk. This is usually used for many recipes. However, most Kerala recipes call for first milk (onnam paal), second milk (rendam paal) and third milk (moonam paal). In the procedure below, I have explained the steps to extract the milk in Kerala style. The first milk is thick and creamy with high fat content. It is usually used as a topping or finally adding to the gravies to make it creamy. The second milk is thinner and is used to cook the vegetables in gravies or for cooking the ingredients in desserts. The final thin coconut milk is pale in color and is also used for cooking.
If a recipe calls for coconut milk in general and does not specify about the first or second milk, then just add all the water in one go and make one single batch of coconut milk. So here is the step by step procedure to extract coconut milk.
Recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: Nil
- Fresh Grated Coconut – 1 cup
- Warm water – 2 cups
- Take 1 cup of grated coconut meat in a blender with some ¾ cup of warm water. If you want it thicker, add just 1/2 cup water.
- Blend it for few minutes.
- Strain it using a sieve or a muslin cloth.
- Squeeze it with your hands or using the back of a spoon to extract as much milk as possible. This is the first thick coconut milk, which cannot be boiled. It curdles if boiled.
- Return the left out coconut to the blender and add another ¾ to 1 cup of water. Blend it again for few minutes. Squeeze out the milk once again. This is the second milk (rendam paal)
- Repeat the process one last time with another ½ cup of water to get the third milk or the moonam paal. This thin milk has a mild coconut flavour and can be boiled.
NOTE: If you are not keen on the thicker and thinner coconut milk, just add all the 2 cups of water and blend at one time.
- The leftover coconut is tasteless and is usually thrown away in my hometown. My friend Raji has shared a recipe (Sambara Podi) with this coconut. Don’t forget to check it out.
Serving Homemade Coconut Milk
- Sweeten the coconut milk with some sugar or jaggery and serve it with Idiyappam.
Recipes with Coconut Milk