04 September 2015

How to make/extract homemade coconut milk in Kerala style|To make thenga paals at home


 It gives me immense pride to say my native place in India is God's own country ,Kerala.The Hindu mythology claims Kerala was created by God himself,Lord Parasurama, an incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu, who threw his axe across the Arabian sea to create a new land like a paradise , for all his devotees to live peacefully and happily . 

However , it is also speculated that it was Kerala tourist department's ultimate slogan to promote the beauty and the culture of Kerala beyond ,through tourism, far and wide . According to Wikipedia,it was in fact, New Zealand-ers who were the first to use those words abbreviated to "Godzone" or "Godsown" referring to their homeland and other countries like Australia, United States,Yorkshire, Cornwall, Scotland ,Wales,Sri Lanka aaand Kerala state in India got inspired to adopt that tagline as well for their respective deserving reasons .

Now that is something I am not that sure of .However,one thing that I am damn sure of is that Kerala is also known as "The land of coconuts" ; Kera means "coconut" in Malayalam and Alam means "land" .So,the name itself justifies it without any doubt further!


No place in the world is a hub of coconut trees as is the state of Kerala.Kerala's ultimate beauty and pride lies in its frond of coconut trees swaying every nook and corner . So,undoubtedly,coconut trees play a vital role in the day to day life and the economy of the state. No wonder why, according to the ancient Hindu mythology,a coconut tree is also called "Kalpa vriksha ",meaning a divine tree that can grant all wishes .In simple terms ,it means a tree that can cater to multi-human needs.True to that,each and every part of coconut tree is quite useful.


It's worth is as long as it's height. The leaves of the trees are used to make fences,sheds,baskets,hats etc ,the ribs of the leaves are used to make brooms and the dried ones are used as firewood and the trunks are used for making various furniture or as firewood and even the long roots are used as firewood.
These coconut trees provides a source of livelihood to the locals especially the poor people living in Kerala ;the men usually are hired by households to climb the coconut trees to pluck the coconuts, the inner fiber of its fruit,coconut, is used to make coir products especially by women ,like ropes,beds,mats,carpets etc ,the hard middle cover is used to make handicrafts and showpiece items,the outside shells are used to make traditional ladles and spoons and these are also used in all houses as firewood. As a matter of fact, the coconut was once equal to cash in Kerala’s rural economy. An edible treasure indeed !!


The liquid hidden inside the coconut;the coconut water, is very healthy,a super quick energetic drink with other medicinal properties .

Needless to say , coconut is a staple ingredient in Kerala cuisine . The inner flesh of the coconut is used as :

  • Shredded coconut or a coconut paste that makes many side dish or a main course taste humble,homely yet divine.
  • Coconut oil is extracted abundantly and used widely for cooking that makes any dish scream "Made in Kerala" ....Coconut oil also has many other medicinal values and also the secret behind the long thick black hair of a typical Mallu/a.k.a Malayalee woman. The leftover residue after oil extraction is fed as food for cattle.
  • Natural and healthy sweeteners like coconut sugar and coconut palm jaggery .
  • A local potent brew called toddy, which is also used for cooking .
  • Last but not the least,the topic of today's post ,used to extract the coconut milk that can make any recipe go rich and creamy be it a main course or a dessert ....Top of it ,the milk is also used for making beauty products like soaps,creams,lotions,facial packs etc....

In Kerala, we make coconut milk a.k.a thenga paal (in Malayalam) at home in three types and used for different purposes :
  •  Onnam Paal a.k.a First milk ,which is like the thick version of extracted coconut milk - used at the end of cooking, especially in a non-vegetarian curry like Chicken curry,Egg curry etc or a vegetarian curry  to make it creamy or a dessert like Payasams/Kerala Puddings.Once added it shouldn't be allowed to boil at any case or the curry will split ,just mix well and put off the flame.This milk makes the curry or a dessert rich and creamy and even adjust the spiciness of a curry.
  • Randaam Paal is the second batch of extracted milk used to cook the vegetables or the non-vegetarian items like chicken,beef etc in it and to simmer in it for a few minutes to absorb the coconut flavor.
  • Moonam paal is like the last batch of extraction that is the thinnest version which can be used in cooking vegetables or non-vegetarian items or even dessert items like the lentils or grains ,used instead of any water.
So, while cooking it follows the reverse order, that is third-second and finally, the first batch of milk gives the finishing touch to the curries or desserts...

This is how I make or extract coconut milk /thenga paal at home :

Homemade Coconut milk recipe


Yields three cups
Grated/Shredded coconut - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup

Method : 

Click here to see how to extract thick coconut milk in 5 ways :

This video will SHOW you how to extract homemade coconut milk in 3 types:thick,semi-thick,Thin coconut milk:

Note :
  • Even broken fresh coconut pieces can be used.
  • In Kerala, a typical coconut grater is used called cheruva to grate fresh coconut . Other handy coconut graters are also available .You can also use fresh frozen grated coconuts.I love the Daily delight's.
  • For first cup of milk ,the proportion will be 1:1.When it comes to second and third water can be reduced.
  • Until and unless, you are using a food processor or a blender for extraction,the water doesn't have to be warm or hot ,just room temperature will work. 
  • This milk stays fresh for 3-4 days if properly refrigerated but best if used fresh or can be froze for a week for maximum flavor for later use.
  • After extraction those grated coconut leftovers can be used for making thorans/Kerala side dish where grated coconut are used BUT should be mixed with the fresh grated coconut though as there won't be any flavor left in the extracted leftover coconut...just a reuse or simBly throw it....
There are also canned coconut milk and coconut milk powder available readily in the market but filled with preservatives etc and nothing tastes better than homemade fresh coconut milk.... So pure so yummy !!

Did you know that ,you can also use the thick coconut milk for a smooth skin as a facial or smooth,soft,STRAIGHT ,long hair with continuous use. Amazing right ?

The way Tulasi plants and Banyan trees are worshiped in Northern part of India,don't you think ,these coconut trees deserves to be worshiped too in Southern India especially Kerala ?
After all, it is called a Kalpa vriksha for a reason !! Om Kalpa Vrikshaya Namahaa !! Prayer Hands

 Or may be we Mallus/Malayalees believe ," Food is indeed worship !" and like George Bernard Shaw said , "There is no sincerer love than the love of food." 

Eat,love,live DELICIOUSLY,

I've used coconut milk in these recipes so far :
Kerala Chicken curry
Kerala Egg curry
Banana Payasam
Mango Pradhaman
Parippu/Lentil Pradhaman/dessert