Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream

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To prepare fresh coconut milk, chip away at the hard outer coconut shell with a cleaver and break the white flesh into smaller pieces. Grate with a coconut grater (available in Chinatown), add about 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) hot water and steep for 20–30 minutes. Strain through muslin or cheesecloth, squeezing hard to extract all the liquid. This is called the first pressing, and the fat or cream that rises to the top is known as coconut cream. More hot water can be added to obtain second and third pressings, the results of which can be used for poaching or curries.