When I move back to America, I think one thing I'll miss is fresh coconut milk. It really lends such a fabulous flavor to curries (I recommend Thai Choice Yellow Curry Paste) and, as I discovered, ice cream. Many wet markets here make coconut milk fresh every day, and a ¼ cup costs about US$0.30. The 4-person stand pictured below does very brisk business.
Cut coconuts in half with big, scary knife.
Hold coconut half against rotating grinder wheel to take off outer brown husk.
Throw coconut into top of machine where it goes through the shredder and drops into a big tub.
Gather shredded coconut into a muslin cloth or cheesecloth and bring it over to the press.
|Man gathers shredded coconut in muslin cloth|
The press squeezes down on the bag, and the coconut milk drips out into a bucket.
Transfer the coconut milk from the bucket to a pitcher for easy dispensing into plastic bags tied closed with a rubber band.
|Fresh coconut milk|
When I move back to Austin (hometown of Whole Foods Market), I suppose I'll have to just get used to buying this instead.
|Not-as-fresh Coconut Milk|
While I was at the wet market, I also stopped by the baking stall to pick up a package of Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar made from boiled down palm tree sap) to act as the sweetener. Before making the ice cream, I had to chop the disk into fine chunks just to speed up the process of dissolving it in the hot coconut milk.
|Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar)|
Palm Sugar is a a little hard to find in America, but I did see it on the shelves of the International Foods aisle at Whole Foods. A Indian or Asian market may be another source.
|This Palm Sugar is much more expensive than buying it from the wet market in Malaysia.|
The ice cream I made was fantastic. (The recipe is at the bottom of this post.) The tropical flavor of the coconut and the deep richness of the palm sugar had me practically licking the custard before it was cool enough not to burn my tongue. Waiting for it to chill and throw in the ice cream maker was torture. It's vegan, too, if you care about that sort of thing. I would show you a picture, but I ate it all before I could whip out my camera.
I realize that not everyone has the time to source exotic ingredients or the equipment to churn their own ice cream. Luckily, I found a place in Austin, Texas where you can get your fix. Lick Ice Cream on South Lamar makes small batch, organic ice cream using local ingredients (except for the coconut, I assume). There were three vegan coconut flavors on the menu the day we visited. For their Fresh Mint and Chocolate Chunk ice cream, I swear that they must steep fresh mint leaves in hot cream to capture that incredibly bright flavor. No peppermint extract here. A word of warning though — while my palate was delighted with the artisanal flavors, my kids were less enthralled. I think they were wishing for candy crush-ins.
|Lick Honest Ice Cream — Creamy goodness in every bite|
COCONUT ICE CREAM
adapted from David Lebovitz (who adapted it from Delicious Days by Nicole Stich)
⅔ cup (160 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
2 ounces (60 g) palm sugar, or ¼ cup white or unrefined cane sugar ("normal" granulated sugar)
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and chill the mixture thoroughly. Once chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Makes about 1 pint.
This post is part of Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? and Foodie Tuesday on Inside Journeys.