(Nariyal, Thengai, Tender Coconut, Coconut milk, Coconut Water, Coconut Cream)
Have you all in your childhood days, in those scorching days of summer in desperate need of a fresh drink scanned the neighborhood in search of local pushcart vendors selling coconut water in their tubs? The first little sip from it is so refreshing, having an unbelievable power to rejuvenate one instantly. Have you all noticed the black shiny silky long hair and glowing skin of your friends from Kerala? Do u think they use something special and unique for their hair and skin or is it the gift of nature bestowed on them? Well, the secret behind is the extensive use of coconut oil in their cooking. That is the best thing about coconut, where we can relish it when fresh as well as in the dried form and also the oil extracted from it. Though the coconut is largely used in multiple culinary ways across the country, it is “the indispensable” ingredient in a south Indian kitchen. From chutneys to sweets and kheer made out of coconut, south India’s delectable affair with coconut is an age old gastronomic tale.
What Makes Coconut Special?
Coconut is easily grown and most widely available across the world. It is inexpensive and hence it is affordable by all. It’s highly nutritious and enriched with health benefitting properties. Coconut has strong anti oxidant properties because of which it helps to lower cholesterol, ward off wrinkles, stabilize glucose levels, regulates hormones, increase thyroid production, increase metabolism and fight infections.
How to Select a Good Coconut?
Coconuts are usually available in the market in its mature brown color with its external husk removed. Some important tips in selecting a good and a fresh coconut are:
- Always select coconut with good amount of water as less water would imply the dryness and cracks in the coconut shell which leads to impurities to enter the coconut flesh and cause mold. You can check for the water in the coconut by simply shaking and listening to the sound of the water.
- Always look for coconut which is not moist from outside since it implies that the water is leaking and thus will have cracks.
Go to a grocer right away and buy some fresh coconut to try one or many of the choicest recipes that I have shared.
Recipes with Coconut
Recipes with Tender Coconut & Coconut Water
Coconut water is the ultimate thirst quencher and is the best alternative to water. Coconut water has the highest concentration of electrolytes than anything found in nature. Hence it makes an excellent source of hydration. Using tender coconut water along with fruit pulps, we can make many juices and cocktails. We can also make soups and desserts using the coconut water.
Recipes with Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is the milk extracted from the flesh of the coconut by repeated grinding and filtering. Usually the 3 stages of the same procedure are repeated to get the creamiest milk in the 1st stage post which its creaminess keeps reducing. The opacity and rich taste of coconut milk are attributed to its high oil content containing saturated fats which are healthy for our body. Unlike the cow’s milk coconut milk is lactose free and so can be used by people who are lactose intolerant. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes as great base of a diary in making desserts and milk and milk shakes. Most of these desserts are commonly seen in the Kerala cuisine.