In Mumbai, India and parts of western India, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with a lot of pomp and grandeur. Coconuts, considered divine, are offered in large numbers to the Hindu God, which is later redistributed as blessed Prasad. I took the opportunity of this festive occasion to prepare some home-made coconut oil based on a recipe I saw long back on a YouTube video.
We have celebrations at our home, passed along generations and, which was in its 105th year this time. We also visited our relatives and community temples for the festival. The net result was – a lot of coconuts! I decided to pick 8 halves of them and try extracting oil with the fermentation process I had seen on Youtube, and tried at my hometown too.
- Open up the coconut into halves and scrape out the pulp into fine shavings.
- Put the shavings in a grinder and add a little water. Grind into a paste.
- Empty the grinder, and squeeze out the coconut milk from the paste.
- Filter the liquid in a wide mouthed container. Cover it with a fine cloth and let it remain indoors in a dry place overnight.
- After about 24 hours, (depending on the temperature), the coconut milk would’ve fermented. You will find a layer of coconut butter (resembling yogurt) floating on top.
- Carefully pick up the coconut butter with a large serving spoon, and separate it from the rest of the liquid. Drop this butter in a pan
- Cook the coconut butter in a moderate flame for about half hour, stirring it continuously. The process is similar to making Ghee (clarified butter) from dairy butter.
- You will find the coconut butter solidifying further and the oil slowly separating out. Eventually the solids of the coconut butter will turn brown, coagulate and settle separate from the oil. Do not wait until it burns to a darker brown, this will give a burnt taste to the oil.
- Once the coconut butter solids have separated, shut the flame and allow the oil to cool. Once cooled, filter it out to a bottle, ready for use.
Here is a video of the process I had seen sometime back posted on YouTube.