The coconut tree is often termed as the Tree of Life for it contributes to the human ecosystem in more ways than one. The drupe, often mistaken for a fruit, is a vital ingredient in the kitchen, whereas the leaves are used to cook as well as dried to build thatched houses. Coconut fibre extracted from the husk goes into making textiles, home essentials and accessories. For those living by the sea, the coconut tree plays a vital role in their economy and agriculture. The Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC), an intergovernmental unit under the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, has committed to celebrate World Coconut Day on September 2 every year.
In honour of the beloved coconut, here are two recipes that use all parts of the drupe—flesh, water and shell.
What can be considered the most fruitful part of the coconut than the flesh? It can be tender or hard, and can be blended, grated to extract milk which thicken gravies and make a wide range of sweet treats. You cannot imagine your favorite Thai curry or olan without the distinctly sweetish coconut base. Here is a recipe for a pudding that uses the coconut flesh, milk as well as water for an indulgent dessert.
If you thought that coconut shells are used only to make ladles, bowls and home decor items, think again. Coconut shells are needed to add a smoky flavour to food. When a meaty dish is being cooked, a coconut shell with a hot coal is placed right in the centre of the vessel, and covered for a few minutes to infuse the dish with a smoky, umami-rich taste. The shell is also used to steam food, and here’s a unique recipe for fluffy idlis with this nifty technique.