Coconut Milk (malay = santan)


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What you should know about the Coconut and its Milk

The milk from the coconut (also known in Malay as santan) plays a very important part in Malay and Nonya cooking, and in the preparation of the type of food and cakes being made.
Remember that coconuts are varied, and do not come in only one standard size, age or richness.
However, on the average about one pound or half Kg of coconut should yield approximately 250 ml or 9 fl oz of milk when the coconut is fresh.
The white grated coconut referred to in most recipes here and elsewhere, is the coconut with the brown skin removed.
When buying a coconut, bear in mind the type of food or cake being made. Usually, choose a freshly cut coconut with a dark brown skin in order to have a rich sweet milk.

For the case of cake recipes, which call for a "coarsely grated coconut" for example, then you should choose instead, one that has a light brown skin, which is younger than those coconuts that have a dark brown skin, and is more tender and less stringy in texture. When preparing "coarsely grated coconut" in cake-making, rub some fine salt over the coconut before grating. Next, place the grated coconut over rapidly boiling water in a steamer for 3 minutes. Cool before using it to sprinkle over the cakes.
By doing so, it will prevent the grated coconut from turning rancid or sour too soon.

Thick and Thin Coconut Milk

Thick coconut milk is the first extraction of milk from a grated coconut after adding a little water, while thin coconut milk is the second extraction after adding more water.
However, pati santan is coconut milk extracted without adding water. The best way to do this is by squeezing the grated coconut a little at a time, in a piece of fine muslin cloth.
Recipe #2 Penang Enchee Kaybin uses: pati santan , made from half a coconut.

When pati santan is cooked over low heat, stirring constantly for quite some time, it thickens and eventually coconut oil separates out from the grated coconut.
Drained from the oil, this grated coconut residue is crisp and rich brown, and is used in desserts and sambals.
Recipe #5 Nasi Ulam uses: fried, grated coconut, made from half a coconut.

 

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