Use of Coconut in Cuisine:
Coconut is used for centuries in many Countries. The husk, hard brown shell, the white coconut meat and the Water-the whole coconut is very useful. The dry husk is used t for fuel and scouring pad. The shell is used as Bowl in some villages in Asia.
Fresh Coconut is used in India,Thailand,Burma,Vietnam and other countries in cooking. (Desiccated and shredded Coconut is also used in Western Countries in baked dishes.)
Sometimes freshly grated, sometimes coconut milk and sometimes the actual Coconut water is used. Coconut also has many other healing qualities.
Most Countries in South East Asia use coconut in Cooking- Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese, Malaysian, Indonasian and Singpore use coconut in many dishes- specially Curries. Thai Desert-Sticky rice is cooked in Coconut milk.
You may have seen tall coconut trees and men climbing on the tree to pluck them. Use of fresh coconut is easy in Country like India where Coconut is easily available in market and, easy to grate as special grater is available along with helper to do it. Coconut Milk is actually the milky juice of ripe coconut-squeezed after grating. The young coconut is sold in many stores and people use the water to cool them in heat, the tender young coconut pulp is a special treat. Actually, the entire coconut is useful. After using the inside of the coconut, the hard shell can be made in to decorative items or Bowles and the outside husk is used for heating fuel in villages and rural areas making this fruit an environment safe item.
Coconut can also be used dried in different dishes. Coconut Oil is used for frying in South India for centuries. Food fried in coconut oil may have different flavor than other cooking / frying oil. Coconut Oil is used for Hair growth by many companies.
Coconut oil is available in Indian grocery stores. Make sure to use Virgin coconut oil-non Hydrogenated for cooking or frying.
A fresh nutty taste of freshly grated coconut adds a lot of flavor and natual sweetness to Vegetables, Chutneys, Sweet dishes, Currys and Baked food.
Mostly used fresh along the coastal area, coconut used for cooking has a lot more meat. Mostly it is not the green coconut we often see. Special tools are used to remove husk and to break it. It is then shredded. Most of the cooking in Southern India may require freshly grated coconut. In the Western Countries, finely shredded and unsweetened coconut is used for Baking. You may also find in the frozen section of oriental or Indian market. If the recipe calls for Coconut-not the milk- then for best results, squeeze the juice out of it which is milky .
Method for squeezing coconut: Use as much as you need and freeze the rest. You may have to thaw it in the microwave or, break the frozen lump in to large enough portion for your use. Take a cup or more water- depending on how much coconut you are using. Use a deep pan. Put warm water in the pan – do not boil it and do not boil coconut. Let the coconut sit in the warm water for 2 to 5 minutes. Pour all of it through a strainer. Press down on the strainer to remove access water, and put the strained coconut in a bowl and use as directed. This can be used as garnish along with chopped cilantro. This is the most common garnish for vegetables, rice and many chicken and fish dishes.
Coconut milk which is the squeezed milk out of coconut is used in Thai, Vietnamese,Indian, Shri Lnkan, Goan and other dishes. Coconut milk is available in market with and without sugar.
Coconut water is available in many stores. In recent years, people have been more aware of the health value of Coconut water aand that has made this drink popular.