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Whenever I think of coconut milk, my mouth waters. Although she is no more, three dishes prepared by mum come vividly to my mind and I can almost taste it in my mouth as I write. The first is a common breakfast dish of steamed/boiled sweet potato served with salted coconut milk sweetened with a bit of  jaggery. The other dish is peppered (black pepper) mutton stew with green pumpkin and coconut milk and of course the payasa or kheer made from padengi (green gram), coconut milk, clarified butter and dry fruit.


I’m sorry that I don’t have pictures for this post yet, but I thought I’d post the method here so that it can be useful to those looking for it.

Since I have already done posts for the other parts, I will refer to them. The links will open in a new window, so you can close them once you are done with them.

  1. De-husk the coconut [Post] (If required)
  2. Crack open the coconut and grate it [Post]

In case you don’t have a grater, for this recipe you can pry out the coconut meat and cut into pieces manageable by your mixie or food processor.

A generation ago, it was manually ground with a small quantity of well water in a kadepina kall’ (Tulu) or kadiva kallu (Kannada). This was hard back breaking work. (However it yields more milk than when processed in a food processor) The ground coconut was then wrapped in a thin south Indian towel called torth and then squeezed to express the milk from the ground paste. I suppose the torth can be replaced by cheese cloth or a large plastic or metal mesh strainer.

There are two grades of extracted coconut milk. Usually it is ground at least 3 times.

The first yield of milk is of high quality. This is never added while a dish is cooking as it can curdle/split like milk. If the recipe calls for coconut milk, normally the second grade of milk is used while cooking. The first grade is added only towards the end of the recipe and the flame turned off the moment it comes to a boil.

Any milk expressed for the second or third time is combined together and called second grade coconut milk. Some people add boiling water to the coconut grounds to extract whatever milk is remaining. Mum used to do it when she was in a hurry so that she could get the milk in two operations.

If you are willing to take some time out to do this, you will never like the coconut milk sold in tetrapaks. The left over coconut can be used to thicken a gravy or added to cattle feed.

Back to the main post on the coconut tree

CREDITS: | Manorama Soans |


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