There are numerous Southeast Asian desserts that feature a soup of coconut milk. So when I made these Five-Coloured Glutinous Rice Balls, I substituted the cow’s milk with coconut milk for a more fragrant soup.
Choose a mature coconut that’s not too old. Use a large knife to chop into quarters then peel off the brown husk.
Then grate the white flesh as finely as possible.
Add a little bit of water to the grated coconut, then put into a muslin cloth. The more water you add the thinner the milk will be so it’s better to start with a thick consistency as you can always dilute it later. Squeeze hard to extract the coconut milk (first yield). When no more liquid will come out, add more water and repeat squeezing (second yield).
Coconut milk turns very easily so refrigerate as soon as possible and use it up in a couple of days. It’s also very rich, so one can easily get an upset stomach from consuming too much as well.
23/12/07 update: See my post on graters for coconut and other foods.