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How to Make Coconut Milk with Tradition and Precision in Vorovoro

In the heart of the Pacific, Vorovoro Island stands out not just for its breathtaking beauty but for a culinary tradition that draws deeply from nature's treasures. And among these, coconut milk undoubtedly reigns supreme.

While many of us know coconut milk as a supermarket staple, few have experienced its magic quite like the locals of Vorovoro Island. For them, it's more than just an ingredient; it's a cherished symbol of life, tradition, and the tropical bounty of their homeland.

Making Coconut Milk the Vorovoro Way

The rich coconut milk revered in Vorovoro's dishes undergoes a meticulous traditional process worth exploring. Dive with us into the journey of this tropical gem, from its lofty perch on a tree to the heart of delicious recipes.

1. Choosing the Perfect Coconut

Everything begins with selecting the perfect coconut since not just any coconut will do. It must be mature, with an ideal balance of water and flesh, ensuring the resulting milk is flavorful and creamy.

2. Husk Removal

Removing the coconut's rugged, fibrous outer shell can be complicated, demanding significant effort. Fijians often use a sharp metal like a spear or a machete to penetrate and de-husk the coconut. Remarkably, some adept individuals can complete this task in under a minute!

3. Cracking the Coconut

After husking, the coconut is skillfully split open. Using the blunt side of a machete, strike the shell horizontally, continuing around the circumference until a noticeable crack appears. Subsequently, insert the machete's tip into the crack and gently lever it open.

Be sure to have a bowl ready to catch the refreshing coconut water. This hydrating liquid can be consumed directly or used in cooking.

4. Grating with Precision

Once opened, the coconut reveals its soft white flesh, which is then finely grated using a 'mbilo.' This traditional Fijian coconut scraper, often made of wood and metal, is an artisanal tool essential to the process.

4. Extracting the Milk

In the heart of the process lies extraction. The grated coconut is soaked in warm water, allowing it to release its rich, milky essence. It's then squeezed – once, twice, often multiple times – to draw out every drop of the creamy nectar.

5. Straining for Purity

The final stage involves straining the milk using a 'sulu,' a traditional Fijian cloth sieve. This ensures that what remains is nothing but pure, silky, and delicious coconut milk.


For Vorovoro Island and its inhabitants, every drop of coconut milk is a drop of tradition, painstakingly crafted and infused with the island's spirit. Coconut milk is not just a flavor; it's a story, an experience, and, most of all, a celebration of Vorovoro's rich culinary heritage. So, the next time you take a sip or bite into a dish enriched with this ingredient, pause and savor the depth of tradition and love it brings with it.


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