I use coconut milk a lot in my “Clean Cuisine” recipes because it tastes incredible but it’s also really good for you, and it is far healthier than dairy milk. (Note: to learn more about the health benefits of coconuts and why the saturated fat in coconuts is not the same as the saturated fat in animal foods click HERE)
I’ll be honest, a lot of times I just use canned organic coconut milk, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, if you have the time and inclination to make fresh homemade coconut milk it’s definitely the superior choice. You can make fresh homemade coconut milk one of two ways, either using the meat from Fresh young Thai coconuts or using organic unsweetened dried coconut flakes (look for organic to avoid sulfites.)
How to Make Coconut Milk from Young Thai Coconuts
Where Can You Buy Young Thai Coconuts?
Young Thai coconuts are available in many Asian markets, but they are becoming increasingly popular in health food stores too.
How to Crack a Young Thai Coconut:
Young Thai coconuts generally come with their husks trimmed, so they sit flat with a pointed top. However, they are not particularly easy to open, so you’ll need a hatchet with a super sharp blade. To crack, lay the coconut on its side (I like to nestle it in some towels so it won’t roll—do note, I would NOT advise holding it with your free hand!)
Hold the cleaver high and then bring it down sharply near the top of the coconut. The knife should sink down about 1/3 of the way the first whack, so you’ll need to keep whacking it to completely remove the top. Once the top is removed, use the back of a spoon to pry the meat from the sides of the shell. Trim away any shell residue with a small knife.
How to Make Coconut Milk from Young Thai Coconuts:
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup young coconut meat
Combine the water and coconut meat in a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and process until smooth and creamy.
How to Make Coconut Milk from Coconut Flakes
If you just can’t get your hands on young Thai coconuts you can always substitute organic raw dried and unsweetened coconut flakes, which you can purchase at any natural foods store, Whole Foods Market or online (see recipe below.)
Making homemade coconut milk from coconut flakes is super easy. Here’s how to do it:
- 2 cups organic dried and unsweetened coconut flakes
- 4 ½ cups water
- Pinch of unrefined sea salt
1. Soak the coconut in the water, covered for 20 minutes.
2. Transfer the coconut and water to a high speed blender (such as a Vitamix), add a pinch of unrefined sea salt and process until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer or into a nut bag over a bowl. Press on the strainer with a wooden spoon or squeeze the nut bag to remove all the milk. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.