when baking, follow directions.. when cooking, go by your own taste.. ~ Laiko Bahrs
some time back, i watched an episode of Anna & Kristina’s Grocery Bag where the duo attempted to cook Thai dishes off of a recipe book.. i’m usually amused by both Anna and Kristina as they both try out recipes from cook books, most of the time, word by word.. makes me feel really silly just watching them and their antics, to be honest, even though the show does share plenty of good ktchen information.. this particular Thai recipes episode really took the cake, for me.. being Asian myself, i was hugely tickled by the way they tried to prepare fresh coconut milk.. Anna brought a coconut out onto the street outside the house, smashed it on the pavement, brought the broken pieces back into the kitchen, placed the bits of white coconut flesh into a food processor and blended it into a puree, and strained the thin, watery milk out of the puree.. and in the end, they ended up proclaiming their attempt as a fail and used canned coconut milk instead..
le BIG sigh..
to my fellow readers who are non-Asian and does not reside in Asia, that is NOT how we do it here.. well, here in Malaysia at least.. i’m not sure whether the same methods are applied in other Asian countries, but i’ll at least show you how we urbanite Malaysians do it..
i grew up in a home that regards the traditional coconut grater a very important tool in the kitchen.. it’s made of wood, and shaped like a horse.. on the end of the ‘horse’ head, a round metal disc with sharp teeth all around the edges is attached.. this is used to grate/scrape the white coconut flesh..
when cooking a dish that requires fresh coconut milk, we crack an old coconut open into halves using a machete.. then, sitting on the back of the coconut grater, we proceed to grate the coconut flesh into a basin placed below..
for those of us who don’t own a coconut grater, we usually get grated coconut flesh from grocery stores, wet markets, or supermarkets..
some water is added into the grated coconut and mixed in…
then, we strain the coconut milk out using a wire mesh sieve/strainer.. either that, or by using a muslin cloth..
and voila, fresh coocnut milk~
well of course one can always buy fresh coconut milk which is also available at the wet market, sold in bags for about MYR1.50 each.. especially if you don’t wish to go through the hassle of straining the grated coconut flesh to get the milk.. if i’m going to use coconut milk in cooking that day itself, i’ll buy that instead of the grated coconut flesh.. if i’m using it days onwards, i’ll buy and keep the grated cocnut flesh in the freezer before then..
as for my non-Asian readers, coconut milk or cream sold in packets or cans will do just as well as the fresh version..
today’s recipe is a non-spicy curry that hubs and i really love.. if you prefer spicy curries, just add chilli paste in the ingredients.. it’s a mild curry that even kids can enjoy.. my close friend Kay’s little daughter sampled this once when she followed her mom over for lunch, and has given her golden nod of approval.. Kay’s been trying to introduce food cooked with spices to her, and so far, she really likes lentil curry and my non-spicy curry..
i like to use chopped ribs for a dry curry like this one.. shoulder and tenderloin are perfectly suited as well..