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Coconut Milk - {Santan}


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  • Coconut(s) as needed
  • Water as needed


Servings 1


Step 1

The best coconut milk naturally comes from fresh coconut. However, dessicated coconut, coconut powder and the commercially available coconut milk are excellent substitute.


For oily dishes, such as Spicy Coconut Beef (Rendang), choose old coconuts. This type of coconut is typically dry and has dark brown skin.

For medium-oily dishes, such as Vegetables Stew (Sayur Lodeh), choose a fairly old coconut with a yellowish brown skin.

For desserts, choose a mature or young coconut.


Quarter the coconut to make it easier for you to grate the coconut. To make coconut milk, you generally grate the coconut in an up and down motion holding the coconut with the convex side facing out. The gratings will be fine and result in more coconut milk. For desserts, they need a coarser grate. That means you need to grate the coconut with the concave side facing upwards.

After the coconut is grated, add 1/4 cup of warm water. Squeeze a handful of the grated coconut so that the water becomes white and takes up the juices of the coconut. Keep doing this until every last drop of the grated coconut has gone into the water. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve. This first pressing is called thick coconut milk.

Add another 1/2 cup of warm water after the first pressing and repeat the same procedure as above. The results is called the thin coconut milk. Continue adding warm water and squeezing the grated coconut until you have obtained the amount you need.

Note: Thick coconut milk is cooked in a different manner from the thin one. In coconut milk-based dishes such as stews or curries, the coconut milk is added towards the end to minimize the danger of coconut milk separating.

Don't forget to stir continuously when cooking coconut milk-based dishes, especially after adding the thick coconut milk. If you don't, the coconut milk will separate.

When you make desserts or rice dishes, you must peel the brown skin off the coconut first so that your coconut milk will be white as cream and not contain any brown spots.

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