Many people think that coconut milk is the liquid inside the coconut. That is actually called coconut water. Coconut milk is the end product of extracting the oil and flavor from grated coconut. You can either buy this at the store or make it quite easily at home. It is very simple and cost effective. One rule of thumb though. there are two types of coconut milk, thick and thin. Thick coconut milk is primarily used for desserts and recipes such as listed below. Thin coconut milk is usually used in soups. Here’s how you make both.
2 c. grated coconut(the bag kind is fine)
2 c. scalding milk
In the pot you scald the milk in, add the coconut and remove from heat. Stir and let sit for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer(if you don’t mind very small bits of coconut and who does?), pushing the liquid from the flaked coconut with the back of a ladle. Or you can lay a large piece of cheesecloth(which you can purchase at any supermarket now)over the strainer and pour the coconut milk into it. Gather up the four corners of the cheesecloth and ring all the milk from the coconut possible, discarding the used coconut flakes. refrigerate until cool It will separate(in a good way) into the heavier cream floating on top and the lighter milk on bottom. Simply whisk together for thick coconut milk.
If you want thin coconut milk, follow the steps above but instead of discarding the coconut, add another cup of milk to the sauce pan along with the used coconut flakes and bring to a scald again. Strain and squeeze and add to the first batch of milk.
Coconut Shrimp, Yankee style
Here is a very tasty dish using your new found knowledge of coconut milk. It truly brings the taste of the tropics to your table.
1 T. butter or margarine
1 t. minced garlic in oil
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 sm. jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
2 T. chopped green onions, green and/or white parts
12 oz. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 T. lime juice
1 T. brown sugar
3 c. coconut milk
1/2 t. ground ginger
2 c. cooked white rice, kept warm
In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic, cucumber, red bell peppers and green onions. Cook, covered and stirring frequently, until cucumbers are slightly soft, about 4-6 minutes. Drain and add shrimp, lime juice and brown sugar. Continue cooking for 3 minutes, uncovered, or until shrimp is just done. Add coconut milk and ginger, bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Mound rice in the middle of a bowl and ladle Coconut Shrimp over the top.