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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Thenga Paal | Coconut Milk (from scratch) | DIY - Coconut Milk

I knew nothing about extracting coconut milk(thenga paal) until I married a guy who hails from Thrissur (where coconut milk is used abundantly in every dish). They have many curries that use coconut milk and last but not the least payasam/ pradhaman that's made all over Kerala uses coconut milk. Little did I know about first, second and third versions of coconut milk(thenga paal) then. Though my mom used to extract coconut milk(thenga paal) but that was only for making any pradhaman or payasam so never got a chance to know much about coconut milk.It was with my MIL I started learning the coconut milk(thenga paal) based curries and extracted coconut milk.There is nothing fancy in this post but still I have received many requests to post about extracting the different coconut milk(thenga paal) especially when making coconut based payasams/ pradhaman. Though I have vaguely mentioned the procedure here and there in many of payasam posts but I thought this is a keeper for all times. If you are used to maggi coconut milk or are using canned coconut milk then life is quite simple but I know many would still admit that nothing brings the exact flavors of the coconut milk extracted from fresh grated coconut.

fresh coconut grated 2 -3 cups
warm water 2-3 cups 

  • Scrape or grate the coconut( *leave out the very dark portions or grate it separately), and keep aside. Transfer the grated coconut in a mixer jar and add 1/2-3/4 cup warm water( helps to extract more coconut milk). Pulse or run the blender for 15 secs to mix it up.
(the first milk is in the smallest bowl,second in the next bigger bowl and the third or the very diluted milk is in the biggest bowl in pic)

  • FIRST COCONUT MILK- Place a strainer over a clean bowl and pour the coconut mix into the strainer. Once the milk flows down, squeeze the left over liquid in the grated coconut. Keep aside,this is the thickest and sweetest coconut milk(thenga paal). This is used as a final topping in curries or payasam like we add fresh cream to curries. After adding this milk, the curry or payasams are not boiled over as it may curdle.

1st coconut milk

  • SECOND COCONUT MILK- Add the remaining crushed coconut and add 1 - 1.5 cups water. Pulse or run again the blender for 20 secs. Place the strainer on the next bowl and transfer the coconut mix into it. Squeeze out all liquid from the coconut mix.This is the lesser diluted version of coconut milk(thenga paal). Keep aside.

2nd coconut milk

  • THIRD COCONUT MILK- This is the last or very diluted version of coconut milk. Transfer the same coconut in the blender jar and add 2 cups water. Blend in the blender for 30 secs and transfer again in the strainer over another bowl and squeeze out the third milk completely. This is a very diluted version of coconut milk(thenga paal), has a light white color and hardly has any coconut flavors.

3rd or last coconut milk

* I have seen caterers in Kerala never pulse the grated coconut in blender and strain in strainers. I have seen them adding the grated coconut in a big urali(vessel). They add little warm water and knead it very well to extract the coconut milk. Then transfer it in a thin cloth or new thorthu( Kerala bath towel). Squeeze the milk by twisting both ends an tightening the cloth. The caterers need coconut milk in very large quantities and blenders may not suffice the need. Some caterers even use some portion of the coconut(the left out waste after extracting) in thorans(stir fry) for sadyas. That coconut doesn't have any flavors left but definitely ads to he texture and quantity of the stir fry.
* The dark portions don't give an aesthetic look and also when you extract the coconut milk with the dark portions,the milk is off white or one shade lighter than white. Its better to use that part for some curries rather than for extracting coconut milk(my personal preference though).
* These days we have mixers attached with coconut extractors in that case the sieving work load is lesser.
* Try getting the mature coconuts to get good quality coconut milk or else the coconut milk doesn't taste good and the oil content is less in immature coconuts.
* The quantity of water added depends on the amount of coconut used. So alter accordingly.
* Also, the first coconut milk is extracted with very less water and the third milk is extracted with more water.
* If you are using canned coconut milk, then use undiluted thick coconut milk for first milk. Dilute the 1 cup canned milk with 1/2 glass water to make second milk and you can leave out the third milk part.

MAKING EXTRA VIRGIN OIL or URUKKU VELICHENNA- The first and second milk are boiled over in a thick bottomed pan(preferably urali) on heat and is stirred frequently till the water is evaporated (takes lot of time and effort) and the pure coconut oil is left behind(the quantity of coconut oil is just 1/5 th of the total coconut milk boiled).I had made this for both my kids when they were babies and applied before bath(it smells so good and intense).
Used in veg curries like vendakka paal curryolan, carrot rice, pacha manga curry , vegetable stew, nadan green peas curry, soya mappas
Used in snacks like achappam(rosette cookies)paal appam.
Used in non veg curries like meen pollichathuchicken stewnadan kozhi curry, mangaittu meen curry(fish curry) , nadan beef mappas ,mutton stew, kerala style mutta curry.
Used in payasams/ pradhaman. I have used coconut milk in ada pradhamansuji gothambu payasammulayari payasampapaya pradhaman, unnakalari payasam ,aval pradhaman.


Anupa Joseph (Palaharam) said... Best Blogger Tips

That is such a basic and useful post... Beautifully written step by step procedures

Gloria Fernandes said... Best Blogger Tips

Useful post..loved the clicks..I always prefer homemade fresh coconut milk rather than those packet ones..