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How to make coconut milk from scratch

I recently learned how to make coconut milk from scratch at the Maliwan cooking school in Bangkok. Now days, particularly in the cities, most Thai people use boxed or canned coconut milk. But in the villages making your own coconut milk is still common. My cooking instructor Mae, said for most cooking, boxed coconut milk is fine. Where fresh coconut milk really makes the difference is in making desserts. Making your own coconut milk is not something that I'd recommend you do every day, but for a special dessert, it is kind of fun.  

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First you need coconuts

It helps if you have a working monkey so you don't have to climb the coconut tree yourself. Seriously, on the island of Koh Samoi we saw a truck full of coconuts and a couple working monkeys. The monkeys go up the tree and spin the coconuts until they fall to the ground. Here is how they train them.

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Next you need to open the coconut

It helps if you have a nice guy with a big knife - thank you Nid!

First you husk the coconut, then you cut it in half

Now you need a rabbit

A rabbit is a stool that incorporates a grated tool you use to grate the coconut. It is called a rabbit because of the little teeth. This is a standard rabbit, but some families have elaborately carved rabbits.

This is how you use the rabbit

Here I am grating the coconut with a rabbit.

Once the coconut is grated it is pretty easy

Add some warm water and start massaging the coconut to release the milk

The final step is you strain the milk

How to make coconut milk if you don't have a monkey, a nice guy with a big knife and a rabbit

You can make coconut milk at home using a grater or a food processor. Or you can do what I do and use Aroy-D coconut milk. It is 100% coconut milk and it comes in a BPA-free box. Aroy-D coconut milk comes in two convenient sizes: 8 ounces and 33.8 ounce packages. I was pleased to learn that all three of the cooks I worked with in Thailand also use Aroy-D coconut milk. See my post on coconut milk to learn why BPA is a concern in canned coconut milk.

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