Note To make coconut milk, Thai food authority
David Thompson suggests processing the flesh in a food processor or
blender until finely chopped. Gradually add 350ml hot (not boiling)
water for every coconut and process to combine, then transfer to a
bowl and work with your hands to extract as much flavour as
possible (3-5 minutes). Strain the liquid through a muslin-lined
sieve into a bowl and squeeze to extract all liquid (discard
solids). One coconut processed with 350ml water yields about 350ml
coconut milk. If a recipe calls for slightly more coconut milk than
you've made, you can top it up with water. It can be used as
full-fat milk or the coconut cream can be separated from it.
Mature coconuts are sold with the outer shell and outer husk removed; the inner husk is brown and hairy. They contain a small amount of liquid and a crunchy white flesh used for making coconut milk and cream. Mature coconuts are available from supermarkets and Asian grocers. To open a mature coconut, pierce two of the eyes (we used a screwdriver) and drain the liquid. Tap firmly around the circumference with the back of a large knife, rotating the coconut with each tap until the shell cracks open. If the coconut smells fermented or the flesh isn't pure white, it's a bad nut.
This lovely creamy, aromatic soup also goes happily with prawns or chicken. You will need 2 mature coconuts to make the coconut milk for this recipe.