I make my own coconut milk. It tastes nuttier and richer than that from a can, and frankly, I enjoy spending vast amounts of my spare time preparing food. Most recipes for making milk mention grating up the coconut or extracting the white flesh with a zester or fork – but it is much faster to pulp the flesh up in a blender.
You’ll need a hammer, a clean cloth, a blender and an old brown coconut.
In his book Thai Food, David Thompson recommends cracking the coconut open with the back of your heavy cleaver but a hammer is much more efficient and satisfying, with the added bonus of not risking losing an ear. Whack the coconut with the hammer until it cracks open. Let the juice inside run out and discard (or drink it, if you’re into sour coconut water).
Peel out the white flesh using a knife or a spoon. There is a thin and woody brown membrane that coats the flesh, the testa.
Cut it off.
Continue until you’ve separated the brown parts from the white. Place the white flesh into your blender along with about two cups of warm water. Blend until thoroughly shredded.
Pour the shredded mix into the tea towel or clean cloth.
Squeeze out the milk. I’d do this with both hands, but my other one is holding the camera.
Let it settle. The thick layer on top is coconut cream, the thinner milk is beneath.