21 Apr 2008

The Coconut is a Fruit

Coconuts are such a large subject to cover due to their oil, flesh and milk each having much to be said about them, that I will just cover coconut meat today.

The meat is available fresh and dried. If unable to purchase a fresh coconut, buy raw, dried dessicated/shredded coconut. If the dried coconut is organic, unsweetened and unsulphered it is an excellent substitute for the fresh variety.

They are highly nutritious and rich in fiber, the B vitamins (excluding B12), vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Coconuts contain lauric acid which has potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and also helps in preventing various problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. As with other vegetable oils, the saturated oil in coconuts is not harmful to ones health. One cup of unsweetened shredded coconut has about 25 grams fat and 280 calories.

In the areas where coconuts are grown they are looked upon as a valuable medicinal fruit. They have been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of illnesses like skin, lung and digestive problems, T.B. and tumors. In modern medicine they are being researched, due to their lauric acid content, for their use in lowering viral levels in viruses like 'flu, hepatitis, herpes and AIDS.

When purchasing fresh coconuts check that the outer shell has no cracks and no mold. They should contain juice (milk) inside so shake to make sure that they do. If the husk is not removed they can be stored for a couple of months at room temperature. Once opened they should be stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen. Dried coconut should be stored in the fridge once the packet is open. For those who haven't a clue how to open a fresh coconut visit How To Open A Coconut for simple pictorial instructions.


Carrot Coconut Cake (Raw)
From Recipe from "Dining in the Raw" by Rita Romano.

5 cups carrots, pureed
1 cup pignoli nuts
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1 1/2 cups coconut, shredded
2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
Grated peel of 1 lemon
3 tbsps psyllium seed powder

Process carrots with S blade to a fine puree. Set aside. Process pignoli nuts, raisins and dates into a creamy consistancy adding a little water to help the blending process. Mix carrots with nut mixture. Add coconut, spice, lemon rind and psyllium. Mix all together and press into mold. Chill two hours or until set.

Indian Cabbage with Coconut (Cabbage Upkari)
From Indian Recipes

Serves: 4
1 medium green cabbage finely chopped / shredded
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 green chillies slit
2 tbsps oil (ideally coconut oil)
2 tblsps grated coconut
2 tsps lemon juice (optional)
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on medium level till hot and crackle the mustard seeds. Drop in the slit green chillies and fry lightly. Add the shredded cabbage and mix in the salt. Cover and cook on low level for about 12 minutes or till the cabbage is cooked but green yet. Mix in the grated coconut. Garnish with lemon juice (optional). TIPS: It is important that the cabbage be very fresh and more green than white since this recipe hardly uses any strong spices. Choose one with more volume and less weight. Coconut oil gives a distinct flavor to this dish. However if not available, any other cooking oil would do fine.

Thai Tofu Coconut Curry (Vegan/Gluten-free)
From Darlene Schmidt, Your Guide to Thai Food at
This tasty curry can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.

Serves 3-4
1/4 cup dry shredded baking-type coconut, unsweetened
3/4 package firm or extra firm organic tofu, drained & into triangular pieces 1/2" thick
1+ 3/4 cups good-quality gluten-free vegetable stock OR faux chicken stock
1/2 to 2/3 can coconut milk
6 lime leaves (purchase frozen at Asian/Chinese food stores)
2 tbsps canola or other vegetable oil for stir-frying
1/2 cooking onion, diced or roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, or 1 tbsp bottled pureed garlic
2 thumb-size pieces galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced into matchstick-like pieces
1-3 tsp. gluten-free Thai chili sauce or chili-garlic sauce (adjust according to your spice preference)
3 tbsps vegetarian fish sauce OR substitute gluten-free soy sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tsps brown sugar
1 sweet potato or yam, peeled and cubed
appox. 1 cup cauliflower, cut into florets
generous handful fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced or left whole if small
1 red or green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped into bite-size pieces
approx. 1 cup snow peas, left whole or cut in half
generous handful cherry tomatoes
generous handful fresh coriander
optional: approx. 1 cup eggplant chopped into bite-size pieces or slices

Place shredded coconut in a dry wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the coconut is nicely toasted. Tip the toasted coconut into a bowl as soon as it turns light to medium golden brown - otherwise it will burn. Replace the wok or frying pan on the stove. Add 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil plus the onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry 1-2 minutes, or until onion begins to soften and the garlic is fragrant. Turn up the heat to high. Add the stock, plus the lime leaves, chili sauce, and most of the toasted coconut (reserve 1 to 1+1/2 Tbsp. for later). Stir everything together. Add the sweet potato (or yam) and cauliflower. Allow to reach a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, eggplant (if using), and tofu, stirring to incorporate. Cover and allow to simmer for another 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, snow peas, and tomaotes, and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until snow peas have softened but are still bright green. Tip: Don't worry if the curry seems too thick with vegetables at the moment. Simply stir them in the best you can. The curry will thin out once you add the coconut milk in the next step. Turn heat down to low and add the coconut milk, stirring to dissolve. Add up to 2/3 of a can, depending on how creamy or how much sauce you want with your curry. Remove from heat and do a taste-test for salt and spice, adding more [veg.] fish sauce, or [gluten-free] soy sauce, or a little salt if not salty enough. Add more chili sauce (or fresh-cut chilies) if you prefer it spicer. If you'd like it a little sweeter, add up to 2 more tsp. brown sugar. To serve, scoop the curry onto individual plates or into serving bowls. Top with fresh coriander and a sprinkling of the reserved toasted coconut. Accompany this curry with plenty of Thai jasmine rice, brown rice, or, for an extra treat, with Darlene's Thai Coconut Rice. ENJOY!

Vegan Coconut Rice Pudding With Lime Zest Recipe
By laylahtov at GroupRecipes
Perfect for the sweet tooth Vegan and anyone else in the house! Super rich and creamy.

2 cups water
1 cup rice
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded coconut
lime zest (optional)

Bring water to a boil, add rice and cook for about 30 minutes or until rice has lost moisture towards the bottom. Add coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and seasons and continue cooking and stirring until rice is super thick and creamy. Add raisins and cook and additional 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in shredded coconut and garnish with lime zest.



Marshamlow said...

I love coconut, the rice pudding sounds fabulous.

Sheila said...

Another tasty coconut dish is ambrosia. This was always a Christmas staple on my mom's table. Simple fresh coconut and oranges with a little powdered sugar.

aTxVegn said...

You always select such great sounding recipes, Jackie! I haven't bought a fresh coconut in a long time, but I love anything coconut. I did buy some coconut water recently and it tastes fabulous. I bought it because the vendor said it was great for your skin, in addition to all the benefits you mentioned.

maggie said...

Not a Vegan but these sure do sound delicious.

Found you through BE. Good luck with your battle.

Jason said...

Mmmmm coconut! The thai curry sounds so good. Best of luck in our Battle.

Marion said...

That rice pudding sounds absolutely fabulous...I can't believe I never thought of using coconut milk in my recipe!

Rural Vegan said...

The rice pudding is my favorite pick, but all the recipes you posted sound so good!

Moon said...

I love cooking!!Not much into baking because my oven isn't working properly.

I wanna make a cake in w/c I can only make use of a plain oven toaster..or mixer..or by just chilling a yummy dessert.Pls get back to me..and give me some suggestions.

Anyway I bookmarked you site.

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Mm, the carrot coconut cake looks delicious!

Em Dy said...

Coconut was featured in a food blogging event recently. You might want to check it out.

Health, Fitness, Science said...

I love coconut juice... I missed my home counrty..Philippines... A lot of coconut there...
Visiting from my entrecard widget.. Have a nice day

Reena said...

Being an Indian i cannot do without coconuts both to cook and for other purposes. There are so many dishes i make that use coconut and besides my girls and i use it for our hair and feet as well!

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Lotus Flower said...

This should be heavenly delish and nutritious too.


bazu said...

I love coconut and wish I lived in a coconut-growing region! I've never tried cabbage and coconut together- sounds like a lovely combination.

Prixie said...

im here in london and it is so much more vegetarian and vegan friendly. wish SA could get like that

Kumudha said...

I love coconut based dishes. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes!

jj said...

Carrot and coconut - very intriguing idea, thanks! Never tried those two together before.

Gina said...

I love coconuts! These recipes sounds great!

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Thanks for the recipes! I love coconut :)

Urban Vegan said...

Coconuts are one of my favorites. (Don't I say that about every fruit and veggie you write about?)

AT a health food store here, they serve coffee with the coconut cream to that forms in a can of coconut milk. It's divine and much richer than icky cow's cream.

Chef Erik said...

Your recipes sound great. I think coconuts are one of the healthiest fruit. I love coconut rice the most.

Fruity said...

Coconuts always reminds me of summer vacation on a sunny beach. Nothing beats sipping down those coconut drinks when you are real thirsty!

Divas on a diet said...

I had no idea that coconut was so nutritious. And your recipes looks delicious. I can't wait to try some of them.

dreamy said...

I love coconuts, usually I juz eat the flesh and drink the water like that, it's really refreshing yum! I saw on tv the other time when some people took a coconut that juz started to sprout. The water was already mixed with the flesh and they called it "coconut bread".

Naomi said...

The carrot coconut cake sounds delicious Jackie. I will definitely try that one.

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