November 6, 2021

How to make a Thai-style coconut shake

It's just you versus the Vitamix. Here’s how to make a coconut shake, exactly like in Thailand...

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Thai-style coconut shake recipe

Nothing is better in hot weather than a coconut shake. If you're heading to Koh Samui, or anywhere in Thailand, you can look forward to a Coconut Crawl – a total bender of blender. Of course, one day, the beach is a distant memory and it's just you versus the Vitamix. Here’s how to make a coconut shake, exactly like in Thailand...

Making a great coconut shake starts with knowing your preferences, as there's great variety in the field. Do you want it thick and milky, or slushy and icy? Sweet, or relatively bland? Let’s start with the necessary ingredients, and add a few more depending on your taste.

Ingredients and equipment

Just two ingredients (coconut milk, ice) and a blender – constitute ‘coconut shake 101’ – but you can add a few further ingredients to make your shake as sweet (and as tropical) as you like…

Coconut Shake Recipe: How to Make a Thai Coconut Shake

* = this or a similar product is necessary

Vitamix Blender* | The Duppy Share Rum | Palm Tree Swizzle Sticks | Koko Kanu Coconut Rum | Coconut Milk Powder | Almond Milk | Coconut Cream | Coconut Nectar | Silicone Ice Cube Trays* | Coconut Milk* | Sangsom Thai Rum | Shredded Coconut

1. Coconut milk

Go for full fat coconut milk, not light (creaminess is the whole point). If you use light coconut milk, it will taste like a glass of melted, milky ice cubes. Not worth your while! Expect to use half a can per coconut shake (or a full can if you want a big portion in an actual shake glass).

Upper level genius: Freeze your coconut milk and/or coconut cream into ice cubes, and then blend them in the mix.

2. Ice

In equal proportion to the coconut milk. Add it slowly until you reach the consistency you’d like. The colder it is, the better your coconut shake will taste. If you're freezing coconut cream, it's really useful to use silicone ice cube trays as those suckers do not like to budge. These ones allow you to get fairly aggressive with bending and twisting, so everything will pop out.

3. A strong blender

Your blender should be the Humvee of blenders – scary strong and 'roided up. In other words? Totally up for blending ice – and lots of it. Vitamixes are a major investment, but I’m pretty sure mine could blend a glacier. It doesn't even make scary noises, just chews it up and asks for more.

4. Sweetener (coconut syrup)

Optional. Add your preferred sweetener, to taste. In Thailand, sugar syrup is most widely used, but to up the coconut aspect consider coconut nectar. It smells amazing, tastes incredible and promises to be a bit healthier (although it will change the colour of the shake to something more malted).

5. More milk

Optional. To lessen the fat content, you could thin your coconut shake with another type of milk – cow, almond, soy, etc. It won’t taste as authentic, but balance that with being smug and healthy.

6. Coconut cream

Optional. To head in totally the opposite direction – coconut cream will make the tastiest shake you’ve ever known (but call it dessert at this point, it’s stopped being breakfast).

7. Shredded coconut

Optional. In Thailand, the flesh of fresh coconut is often added. Assuming that your access to fresh coconuts is limited, adding shredded coconut to a powerful blender thickens the shake further. In a less powerful blender you’ll probably end up with a coconut shake you have to chew. No bad thing! To use as a garnish, toast a small amount and sprinkle on top of your glass. To avoid drinking a Bounty bar, check that there's no extra sugar added (there's none in the variety linked here).

8. Rum

Optional. Sneaky suggestion? Add perhaps a tablespoon of coconut rum. Or a "Jamie Oliver tablespoon" which usually looks like half a cup. Glug, glug, glug... isn't cooking great?

9. Palm tree swizzle sticks

Optional. Final flourish: add an orchid for garnish, throw a cocktail umbrella in there and do a little dance – you’re basically in Thailand.

What's next?

As you can see, coconut shakes are a varied field with wide interpretation. Once you've experienced the full array of coconut shakes, there's plenty left to try: Papaya, mango, and pineapple shakes offer colours and textures for almost every day of the week. As for the ultimate fruity underdog, we contend that a banana shake is actually life-changing. Enjoy!