There is nothing in the world like fresh, rich coconut cream, with its plump, velvety texture and slightly fatty, rich, virginal taste. Especially not the canned stuff.
Buy a coconut that feels heavy in the hand. Hold the coconut in one hand over a bowl to catch the juices. Crack it open by smacking it, around its circumference, with the back of a heavy Chinese cleaver. Catch the juices in the bowl and save for drinking later. Grate the meat with the sharp prongs of a coconut grater, known as a ‘rabbit’, or continue cracking the shell of the coconut and loosen the ‘meat’ away from the pieces of shell. Grate the coconut meat against a strong grater. Add hot water to just cover coconut meat, and leave to soak for 10 minutes or until water is cool. Squeeze the juice from the meat into another bowl through a fine-meshed sieve or dampened muslin and stand for 30 minutes to allow the cream to rise to the top. Use the same day, in curries, seafood sauces, or drizzled over fresh mango or other tropical fruit. P.S. Add more hot water to just cover the squeezed meat, then squeeze and leave for 30 minutes to make a thinner milk.
© 1998 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.