Note: This is an updated version of a post that first appeared on the blog in 2011.
I’ve been trying to cut down on dairy for awhile now. While I still use quite a bit of gluten, sugar, and dairy in my recipes, I suspect that one of them has been causing my migraines, and they’re all cited by reliable sources as a potential cause (though it seems to me like everything is cited as a potential cause for everything these days).
Regardless of whether I’m cutting back on dairy, I love using coconut milk in recipes. It’s such a versatile ingredient, with an exotic flavor and creamy texture that isn’t overpowering. In addition to using it in recipes, I add it to smoothies, cereal, and sometimes as a subtle flavor in rice.
Once I realized how easy it is to prepare homemade almond milk, I knew I had to try this. You only need two ingredients: water and unsweetened shredded coconut.
You can strain the milk through cheesecloth, but I like using a nut milk bag, which is a very cheap investment if this is something you plan on making regularly. The bag has a much finer mesh than cheesecloth, so there’s no chance of any little bits escaping and adding unwanted texture.
The ratio used in this recipe has a consistency slightly thicker than regular milk, but tastes like the canned variety. Canned coconut milk is much thicker, and it’s what I typically use in curries and ice cream.
Coconut Milk Recipes
You can cut down the water in this version for thicker results. Either way, it will definitely work in my chicken curry with coconut milk (my version is specifically a chicken massaman curry, but other curry pastes will work). This recipe will also work well in my toasted coconut amaranth porridge.
I haven’t tested this recipe yet in my espresso coconut ice cream, but I’d imagine it will work. The ice cream might be a bit less creamy.
How To Store Coconut Milk
You can store coconut milk in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. It will also keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Natural separation will occur, so shake or stir it before using. I store my milk in a mason jar for easy shaking.
Homemade Coconut Milk
- In a medium saucepan, heat the water until it begins to steam and simmer (you can also use a kettle for this step).
- Add the water to a blender along with the shredded coconut.
- Puree the mixture for 30-60 seconds, then strain into a bowl through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag, squeezing to extract all of the liquid.
- Use immediately, or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Homemade coconut milk can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Yields 1 1/2 cups.
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