Coconut Milk

I spent several minutes yesterday in awe over our aya and what she was doing. I had planned to make a coconut curry (Thai style) but realized we didn’t have any more coconut milk. I expressed my disappointment to Sheela, full of gesticulation and void of language, especially considering the fact that I had just returned from a shopping trip.

She looked at me and smiled and said something about making coconut milk. I figured I either didn’t understand what she was saying or vice-versa and asked her to repeat herself. As it turned out, she meant what she said.

I spent the next several minutes watching her hand-press coconut milk from a coconut she got from our cold storage. For the food lovers out there, here was her process.

  • Heat water.
  • Break open the coconut and pour coconut water into a cup for me to drink.
  • Chip the white coconut out of the brown shell with a knife.
  • Put the pieces into a mixer (blender) and turn on for about 30 seconds.
  • Put some of the blended coconut/pulp into a small strainer and pour a little warm/hot water over it 
  • press and squeeze with hand and watch the coconut milk pour into a bowl.
  • repeat last two steps until you have enough milk
I always thought coconut milk was natural — perhaps from an unripened or overly ripened coconut. It’s probably a lot cheaper this way, too. Oh, and I asked — no, the pulp is no longer any good for anything.

Joshua Gray

Washington DC native poet that now lives in Kentucky.

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