It's a really easy process and takes mere minutes--especially now that we have access to the beautiful modern convenience that is the food processor. The results are especially lovely, with a strong and natural coconut flavor and aroma that is much different from the canned version.
NOTE: In this post I'll show you how to make the milk starting with a whole coconut, but you can also skip ahead and use a bag of unsweetened dried coconut, then begin from the food processor step!
Here's how you do it:
Once home, use a nail or screw to break through the eyes and drain out all the water inside--reserve this as you'll be using it in the recipe. You can then break the coconut open and remove the hard hairy brown outer shell. (Here is a great tutorial on how to open a coconut.)
Combine the chunks of coconut in a food processor with the reserved coconut water plus two cups of boiling filtered water. (You can also use a strong blender or Vitamix for this step. No "Magic Bullets," please!) It's important that the water be very hot as that will help extract as much fat as possible from the coconut meat.
Use it right away, if desired, or transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Note that the lack of additives or emulsifiers will also mean that the coconut milk will separate in the fridge with the fat solidifying on top--this is a good thing! It's natural! You can heat it up slightly and stir it back together to use or just pop in a blender to emulsify into a creamy milk again.
And remember: Don't have a fresh coconut? You can also make coconut milk using frozen coconut or shredded dried coconut (the unsweetened kind) and follow the process from the food processor step.
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