Tahitian Coconut Milk

In French Polynesia, coconuts are a staple of traditional cuisine. They provide refreshing coconut water and coconut meat and can be used in a variety of dishes. The meat can also be used to make coconut milk.

On all Paul Gauguin Cruises French Polynesian voyages, you can watch a coconut demonstration led by Les Gauguines, our Tahitian hostesses, at Motu Mahana, an islet adjacent to Taha'a. This exclusive South Seas paradise features white-sand beaches with crystal-clear waters, gentle breezes, and palm trees. In addition to a delicious barbecue lunch and Polynesian entertainment featuring strolling musicians and singers, enjoy Tahitian activities like making coconut milk. Here is a step-by-step guide to making it Tahitian style.

Les GauguinesCoconut demonstration by Les Gauguines on Motu Mahana

Coconut Milk

•    Hold the coconut in one hand so that the three eyes of the coconut are facing up.
•    Using a large butcher knife, carefully give the coconut several sharp raps on the top near one of the eyes. Normally the coconut will split down the middle; however, it doesn’t split, try again.

Les Gauguines

•   Grate the coconut meat directly from the shell using a long file-like utensil devised for this purpose. Graters can also be used.
•    Place the grated coconut, a handful at a time, into cheesecloth or a small dish towel and twist to extract the milk. If the coconut is dry, add a spoonful or two of warm water before pressing to extract the milk.
•    If you don’t have a coconut grater, another way to obtain the milk is to remove the meat from the coconut shell with a sharp knife and grate it in a high-speed shredder. Then, place the grated coconut in a blender, add a little water, and whirl until pureed.

In Polynesia, one coconut yields approximately 1 cup of coconut milk.  Enjoy coconut milk in coffee, drinks, and the traditional Tahitian dish Poisson Cru.