Before living in Fiji I hadn’t really given how coconut milk is made a second thought. It comes from a can doesn’t it? Apparently not.
Upon arriving in Fiji I heard whispers about coconut scrapping, so when I asked Offa to cook with me for the day she showed me what coconut scrapping was all about.
After heading to the local markets to buy our supplies for the day, we headed home to make Fijian chicken curry, Coconut Milk, Ota & Tuna Salad and Roro. The house smelt amazing by lunch time let me tell you. Offa shared her years of Fijian cooking experience with me, which was such a privilege and I now know exactly what to buy from the local produce markets and how much to expect to pay.
So, coconut milk, let’s get to it.
How to Make Coconut Milk at Home
Let me tell you, this process is not for weak hands and is literally best performed sitting on a step as Offa is so the bowl sits directly below the scrapper tool. The rest of the scrapper tool is under Offa’s bottom to keep it still.
- After the coconut has been split in two, saving the liquid. Grab one half and literally scrap it across the jagged edge of the scrapper blade, pushing down firmly to ensure the coconut comes away in small shavings.
- Continue until there’s no coconut left in the shell and repeat to the other half of the coconut.
- Once all the scrapping is completed add about 1 cup of warm water and the coconut liquid saved from when you cracked the coconut open, to the bowl and massage the coconut and water together which will release the oils from the shavings.
- Pour the mixture into a milk bag (this is the easiest option) and squeeze it until there is no more juice remaining. Do not discard the shavings, because at the same time as making coconut milk (the liquid left in the bowl) you’ve also make desiccated coconut.
- Pop the remaining shavings in the oven on approximately 80-100 degrees (fan forced) for a couple of hours or until the coconut feels dry.
If you don’t live in Fiji or have access to a scrapper you can also remove the coconut from the shell, cut into 1 inch pieces and process in a Thermomix speed 8 for 10-20 seconds should do the trick. The remainder of the process is the same as above.