Coconut

Coconut

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

The fruit of the coconut palm has a hard, brown hairy shell, with 3 basal pores commonly known as ‘eyes’. The shell protects a layer of white, sweet, edible flesh and the coconut juice, which can be extracted by puncturing 2 of the eyes. Chilled, it makes a refreshing drink or it can be used to make coconut milk. The flesh of the coconut can be grated or shredded and eaten as is or used for cooking. Or it may be dried to make desiccated coconut, which may be dry or semi-moist.

Basic preparation: Pierce eyes with a screwdriver or ice pick. Drain juice and reserve for drinking or cooking. Tap all over shell with a hammer, then break open. To grate white flesh, use grater or work pieces in a blender.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. Coconut milk: It may be made with fresh or shredded coconut. For 250 ml coconut milk, combine in a saucepan 135 g shredded coconut and 375 ml milk. Simmer over low heat, stirring once or twice, for about 2 minutes. Strain, pressing mixture well to extract milk. Use in a curry sauce or other recipes that call for coconut milk, or chill and serve as a drink.
  2. Coconut cream: This is made by chilling coconut milk. The ‘cream’ that rises to the top of the coconut milk is skimmed off and used in curry sauces or desserts.
  3. To toast coconut: Spread desiccated coconut on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 15 minutes or until light brown, stirring frequently, or toast under a hot grill.
  4. To tint coconut: Mix a few drops of food colouring into desiccated coconut and toss lightly until evenly coloured. Tinted coconut is used for decorating cakes, biscuits, etc.
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