Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Coconut Milk Extraction(Traditional Method)

Those living in the West Coast of India habitually include coconut in their cuisine. Coconut is used in many forms in making curries, fried, snacks, sweets and desserts. Not just coconut masala, coconut milk also plays an important role in making many delicacies, veg or nonveg. Mangalorean Kori Ghasi, Kundapur Koli Thalna, Kerala Sadhyam, Payasam, Goan Rosachi Kadi and of course the pick me up Kokum Kadi. They all need coconut milk to prepare. GSB delicacy Valval and Brahmin dessert Rasayana also have added coconut milk in them. Coconut milk/cream of late has gained international importance by being one of the key ingredients in making Vodka and rum based cocktails and liqueurs.
In thesee modern times, we have seen coconut products like milk, cream, milk powder, desiccated powder and many more byproducts flooding the markets, on the shelves of super stores. Yet, traditionally extracted fresh coconut milk has its own taste and flavour. It makes the preparations very delicious and aromatic. More so, if right grading of coconut is used for extracting milk. Since my childhood, I have been watching my mother extract coconut milk from green fresh coconut manually grated on the coconut scraping stool, manually ground using the grinding stone and squeeze out the milk by straining through a muslin cloth. Today we have electric coconut scrapers and mixer grinders that make our job easy. Strainers with fine stainless steel or plastic sieve are also available in the market. Yet, obtaining green coconut is not so easy! Not many stores or vegetable vendors stock them, as they are fast perishable. Some may give whitish looking coconuts saying they are suitable, but the kernel might have grown and contain oil content, which does not give the same flavour as tender one. Those who have coconut trees in their garden are lucky, if the coconut plucker obliges and plucks couple of green coconuts and facilitates extraction of good quality coconut milk!

We are lucky that our coconut plucker Ananda came yesterday to pluck coconuts and I asked him to pluck a green one. He plucked one and also peeled it for me. It was looking big and heavy, but had lot of water inside and the kernel was rather tender and thin. Yet, the coconut milk I extracted tasted exactly like what my mother used to extract during my childhood days! We made Valval, delicious GSB style mixed veg curry with the milk extracted from that coconut today.

The art of grating/scraping coconut manually is not mastered by many youngsters from the the newer generation. We still belong to the older generation and I have helped my mother in cooking since our only sister, our eldest was married off as early as when I was 7 years old! I used to grate coconut, grind masala on the stone, prepare tea coffee and few simple snacks, make rice daalithove and upkari when I was in school, when mother was away at sister's town Shivamogga. Later when I was in PUC, I also remember doing voluntary work with my GSB friends at the Venkatramana Temple Car Street during the annual Rathotsava, grating coconuts in the early hours, soon after Small Rathotsava was over. There they have long  benches with coconut scraping blades fixed at calculated gaps, and at a time 6-10 people can sit together and grate coconuts on one bench!

Meena still does coconut scraping manually, using the fantastic coconut scraping stool we got from Pilikula Heritage Village in 2009. She has demonstarted here, how to make coconut milk, starting from breaking the coconut using a 'Koiti/Katthi' or a sickle, drain and collect the coconut water for drinking, scrape the coconut, grind it in the mixer and extract thick and thin milk. Thick coconut milk is also called as coconut cream. It is the main base for curries, payasams and desserts. The thin milk is used in cooking vegetables and lentils or while grinding rice and daal for dosas and sannas. Of late, I have also made fine toddy, fermenting thin coconut thin milk by adding sugar and yeast. That toddy can be used for making sannas, aapams and dosas.

To Extract 4 Cups of thick coconut milk, you need a medium size coconut. Since the green coconut we used had thick kernel, we got just 2 cups of thick coconut milk and 2 cups of thin milk. More fibrous kernel yields more milk but also adds some percentage of oil content to the milk!

Implements you need:
Sickle or an iron rod for breaking the coconut
Coconut Scraping Board/Stool
A wide platter for collecting grated coconut.
Strainer with Fine Stainless or plastic mesh, or 2 ft x 2 ft wet muslin cloth
A spatula, spoon or ladle.
1 wide mouth vessel for collecting coconut water.
2 vessels of 1 liter capacity each for collecting thick and thin milk separately.

Coconut - 1 medium(or 4 Cups grated coconut)
Water - 4-6 Cups
Remove the fibers sticking to the peeled coconut and wash the coconut under tap water.
Cup your left hand and hold the coconut firmly as in the picture.
Using the blunt edge of the sickle blade, tap on the middle portion of the coconut shell on the segment between two ridges using moderate force.
Turn the coconut and tap on the second segment between the ridges.
Turn again and tap on the third segment.
Now the coconut shell must have cracked.
Insert the tip of the sickle blade, widen the crack between two coconut halves, hold the coconut above the vessel and drain the water.
You can either consume this fresh sweet coconut water immediately, or keep it in the fridge for a day, and use it for grinding rice to make akki rotti, neeru dosa, undi or string hoppers.
You can also make toddy with coconut water.

Once the water is empty, separate the two halves.
Using the coconut scraper, grate the kernel and collect the grated coconut.
If you are using the grated coconut later, place the platter covered, in the fridge for 8-10 hours.
Take the grated coconut and 1-2 cup of water in the grinding jar of the mixer or a stand alone grinder.
Close the lid and run the mixer/grinder at slow speed for 2 minutes and at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Check to see if the mass is ground to a smooth paste.
If not, run the mixer at medium speed for another minute or so.
Pour the ground paste into the strainer little by little, use the spatula or spoon to stir the contents and extract milk.
Alternatively you can pour the ground paste into the wet muslin cloth, tie it securely and squeeze out the milk.
Once you get the thick milk, transfer the residue back into the mixer, add two more cups of water and run the mixer for 1-2 minutes.
Pour the contents into the strainer or muslin cloth and extract thin milk into a separate vessel.
repeat the process again if you feel the residue has some more thin milk to yield. 
Use in recipes as per instructions.
Store the thick and thin milk in the fridge for 4-6 hours if you want to use them later for cooking, but don't keep them in the freezer.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Image Copy Control