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How to Make Coconut Milk

I use coconut milk several times a month in savory dishes and desserts. As a matter of fact, coconut milk is an important ingredient in the cuisine of an entire region of the Dominican Republic: Samaná. While we have the convenience of walking out of the supermarket with a can of it any time we need it, there is no doubt the canned stuff will never be equal to freshly-extracted coconut milk. This healthy make-at-home version has no preservatives.

Photograph by Clara Gonzalez

Instructions:

1. Start with the freshly-extracted meat from one dry coconut.

RELATED: How to open a coconut

Photograph by Clara Gonzalez

2. Chop the coconut meat into dice-sized chunks. This will make it easier on your blender.

Photograph by Clara Gonzalez

3. Place the coconut meat in the blender and add two cups of water. Blend until it turns into a slush-like mix (about 5 minutes over high speed). If your blender is not powerful enough to move the mixture, add another half a cup of water.

Photograph by Clara Gonzalez

4. Pour the contents of the blender through a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a spoon to release as much liquid as possible.

Photograph by Clara Gonzalez

Coconut milk is at its best fresh, but it can be refrigerated for up to a week in an airtight jar with a lid or cap. The yield is about the same amount of water you put in.

Try these recipes made best with fresh coconut milk:

Pomegranate, Coconut and Mango Paletas

Berry Cherry Coconut Breakfast Smoothie

Quinoa Coconut Breakfast Pudding

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Photograph by Clara Gonzalez
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