Among the many ingredients out there, there’s probably only one that is so versatile that it can produce oil, milk, meat, water, cream and be cooked in savory, sweet, spicy, and salty recipes. And that is coconut. Coconuts are known to be natural powerhouses of nutrition. It is a wonderful and versatile fruit that can be cooked in many ways, from its sweet liquid to its delicious creamy-white flesh. In fact, it is a staple ingredient for more than a third of the world’s population. For those of you who are wondering, coconuts are not quite a nut or a seed but rather a drupe or stone fruit.
When you go to supermarkets and health food stores, you can find an array of coconut products readily available. It means that you don’t have to live in a tropical place to be able to enjoy the benefits of coconuts. If you are looking into cooking with coconut, know that there are various ways you can do so. To help you, here are the delicious ways to cook with coconut.
1. Cook with coconuts by toasting them
Fresh shards of coconut are indeed delicious and can be enjoyed raw. However, since it is not widely available in other parts of the world, it is mostly exported in shredded form. One of the best ways to use the processed variety of coconuts is by toasting. This can help bring it back to life, giving it a crisper, fresher, and slightly chewy texture. In addition, you can also bake coconut to bring out its natural oils and make it toasting and delicious.
You can toast coconuts in two ways. One is by spreading the shredded coconuts on a baking sheet and bake them in the center of the oven at 375°F, and stirring every two minutes for about 15 minutes or until they turn brown and crisp. After that, transfer the toasted coconut to a plate.
The second method is by toasting the shredded coconut on the stovetop. This is mostly preferred by many as you can watch them turn golden. All you need to do is preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the shredded coconut and stir it often until it turns golden brown. You can also store toasted coconut at room temperature in an unsealed container, and it can last for a week.
2. Use coconuts as breading
Instead of using bread crumbs or panko when you cook, you can also try using coconuts. It can complement shrimps well and can also handle being fried or baked. This can make your fried foods tastier.
3. Make sauces with coconut milk
Another way to cook with coconut is by using coconut milk to make sauces. There are plenty of sauces you can make with coconut milk. In fact, the base of most Thai curries is made with coconut milk. It gives dishes like that a rich and creamy consistency while moderating the spice levels.
4. Use coconut to garnish dishes
Coconuts can also be used as a flavorful garnish. You can spoon it and use it as a topping for soups, puddings, and more.
5. Make some coconut ice cream
You can also freeze some full-fat coconut milk and create ice cream. In addition, you can also use coconut milk as a substitute if you do not have any yogurt for making a delicious dessert.
6. Turn coconuts milk into whipped cream
Coconut milk can be a great alternative to regular whipped cream. It is also a vegan and dairy-free option that does not feel like substitution at all.
Best Coconut Food Recipes
Now that you know the different ways on how you can use coconut when cooking, we are also happy to give you a list of some of the best coconut food recipes we found, which you might want to try.
In this recipe, fresh coconut is grated and cooked using brown sugar, nutmeg, and some water for a flavorful filling. It is a traditional West-Indian-style type of pastry. All you need are some unsweetened grated coconut, light-brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, water, unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, flaky pastry dough, a large egg, and some heavy cream. You can check here the directions on how to make coconut patties.
Toasted Coconut Tilapia with Pomegranate Salsa
If you are looking for a dish that can be your go-to dinner, this one is perfect. To cook this dish, you need some tilapia fillets, salt, pepper, lemon, coconut oil, and unsweetened shredded coconut. For the salsa, you need a tomato, red onion, pomegranate arils, cilantro, lime, orange, and salt. You can check the instructions on how to cook this coconut dish at How Sweet Eats.
Chocolate Coconut Pound Cake
This one is a rich, velvety-smooth cake that can make people forget that butter even exists. It has the fragrant richness of coconut oil and the tenderizing power of buttermilk, making it one of the ultimate cake recipes out there. To make this cake, you need some unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, kosher salt, baking powder, virgin coconut oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, and unsweetened coconut flakes. You can check out bon appetit to know how to prepare and bake it.
Coconut Vegetable Curry
This dish is perfect on top of some coconut quinoa. It is a mix of everything people love about curry, including veggies and coconut milk. It is a perfect recipe for vegans. It is also easy to prepare, and you can make it in just 30 minutes. All you need are some coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger, broccoli florets, carrots, tomato, snow peas, curry powder, cayenne, light coconut milk, veggie broth, black pepper, and sea salt. For the coconut quinoa, you need some light coconut milk, white quinoa, and some agave nectar. You can visit Minimalist Baker to see the full instructions on how to cook this recipe.
Roasted Butternut & Coconut Soup
This is the perfect recipe for the first cold night in the fall. It is also topped with Chevre Yogurt, making it more delicious. But if you’re a vegan, you can leave it out or replace it with a vegan alternative. To make this soup, you will need some butternut squash or Hokkaido pumpkin, coconut milk, boiling water, rosemary, ginger, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and ground black pepper. For the procedure, check out Green Kitchen Stories.
These are some of the delicious ways to cook with coconut that we can share. You can also try coming up with your own recipes by incorporating coconuts with your favorite dishes. Maybe you can use its meat, water, oil, or milk as alternatives to the ingredients you usually use, to make the dishes you cook healthier and tastier.