It is possible to give any dish more of a coconut flavor by letting it simmer in coconut milk. You simply add the coconut milk together with the chicken broth; the more milk the stronger the taste. If you use a lot of coconut milk, decrease the amount of chicken broth accordingly. Along the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, families make their own homemade coconut milk from coconuts and you can do the same. If you can’t manage to find coconuts when shopping, desiccated coconut is a feasible alternative.
How to make coconut milk
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F or 175 degrees C.
- Piece the eyes of the coconut and drain the liquid. Contrary to popular belief, the liquid present inside a coconut is not the same thing as coconut milk. You can use the liquid to make a nice rum drink if you don’t want to discard it.
- Place the coconut on a rack and bake in the pre-heated oven for roughly half an hour.
- Take the coconut out of the oven and leave it to cool down a bit.
- Use a hammer to crack the shell and break up the coconut into several pieces.
- Use a knife to remove the coconut meat from the shell. An ordinary table knife tends to be safer than a sharp knife.
- Peel the brown skin off the coconut meat and cut the meat into very small pieces.
- Pour hot water (1 cup of water for each cup of coconut meat) over the meat and leave it to soak for 10 minutes.
- You now have to methods to choose among. Some cooks press the soaked coconut meat in their hand to extract the liquid. Others prefer to place another pot in the pot that holds the meat and press the top pot down to extract the liquid. Regardless of which method you use, a sieve or cloth will come in handy when its time to extract the very last drops of water.
- Once the water is extracted, you can leave the coconut meat to soak in hot water again and repeat the process the get as much coconut milk as possible out of one batch of meat. The first extract will be thicker than the following ones and is especially suitable for recipes that require coconut cream. Following extracts are commonly used as thinners.
- Use the coconut milk right away or store it in the refrigerator for up to two days. If you store it, the fatty coconut cream will float up to the surface.
- Congratulations you have made your own coconut milk from coconuts.