Homemade Cinnamon Coconut Milk

Plant based Cinnamon-Coconut Milk/Mylk

It’s been a busy busy week this side of the world – finishing up my drama voice exams and practical theater making exams, finishing up essays and assignments and slowly gearing into our last exam period of the year. I can’t believe how the year has flown. It’s crazy to think I am already 1/3 of my way through University when it feels like I am still a total newbie, winging it completely and totally.

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Some days feel completely overwhelming and the to-do list feels like it’s one of those olden day scrolls that keep rolling all the way down my feet and along the corridor. Other days are infused with a lightness, an openness, an exuberance that allows me to reflect on how much I have learnt both personally and intellectually. I am so grateful to be in the position where I can study right now, particularly in South Africa where so many aren’t lucky enough to. I try to remind myself of this during the harder days.

 

Today (Thursday) is usually one of the busy days. But my French teacher is ill so it means I have some free time this afternoon. It will no doubt pick up again later when I go to teach a yoga class and then to another course I am doing which ends at 8:45PM. But then HOME and then SHOWER and then BED! I swear getting into bed these days feels like one of the highlights of my life. Comforting, all-enveloping and just plain YUM. During this afternoon’s free time I felt a wave of inspiration to create something that I’ve wanted to create for a while now. COCONUT MILK. Not the thick tinned kind used in curries and what not, but the kind that’s used in coffee and tea and to top off delicious granola! This must be one of the easiest, simplest and most versatile recipes out there! AND, huuuuge bonus: IT’S CHEAP (as far as plant based mylks go). The base is literally just desiccated coconut and water. There are a few other things I added in my recipe to spice it up a notch, but they can easily be omitted. This means that all those nasty E-numbers and preservatives and emulsifiers used in boxed plant based milks that you buy from the store can be a thing of the past!

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How is this recipe versatile?

It can be used in sweet dishes such as in oatmeal porridge, smoothies, to top granola or other cereals, rice pudding or to make vegan bread and butter pudding or vegan French toast (or any other recipe that calls for a sweet plant based milk). BUT, it can also be used in savory dishes by leaving out the cinnamon and dates you can use it in curries, or make a delicious thick white sauce to top your veggies with or as a base to make a carbonara sauce for some pasta. You can even use it to make a delicious, rich potato bake. The possibilities are endless!

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Ingredients

·      5 + 1/3 cup of filtered water

·      1.5 cups of desiccated unsweetened coconut (make sure the only ingredient in the desiccated coconut is coconut)

·      1/3 cup of small pitted dates (optional: coconut has an inherent sweetness, so you can very easily omit this to make it less sweet and more neutral)

·      Scant ¼ teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt

·      ¼ teaspoon – ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)

·      High speed blender (I used a Nutribullet)

 

Method:

1.   Boil 1/3 cup of water and place over dates to soak. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.

2.   Because I was using a Nutribullet I did this in a slightly roundabout way due to limited space. But stick with me here.

3.   If you have a big blender you can simply place 3.5 cups of water, the dates plus the dates soaking water, the coconut and the salt in a blender and blend on high until it’s all silky smooth. If you are using a smaller blender like I was, I mixed all of the above ingredients together, halved it and blended it in two batches.

4.   Once blended and smooth, I placed a bowl with a sieve over it. Pour the liquid over it in batches, using a spoon to move the coconut around to ensure the liquid passes through the sieve.

5.   Place the pulp into a bowl/container and continue in batches until the liquid is finished and properly sieved.

6.   Then place the remaining pulp back into the blender with 1.5 cups of water and blend again (ensuring that you make the most of the coconut). Continue with the same straining process. While you are straining, use the spoon to really push the coconut into the sieve to get as much liquid out of it as possible.

7.   You should now have a big bowl full of beautiful delicious coconut milk. Add in the cinnamon, stir well. However, it needs about 2 more strains through the sieve to come out “clean” and clear of pulp.

8.   Once you have strained twice more, place into a jar with a sealed lid. It is now ready for use and enjoyment. Savor it. It is liquid gold!

9.   Now for the pulp, place parchment paper on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 125 degrees Celsius. Spread the pulp out evenly and once the oven has reached temperature place the baking tray into the oven for ____ minutes

10.                 Take the pulp out and use in granola or in falafel patties or as coconut “flour” in other recipes.

11.                 Versatile recipe? I think YES.

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