Coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the Palm family Arecaceae and is found growing around the world in lowland, tropical and subtropical habitats. Classed as a fruit, it is actually a one-seeded drupe. Coconut fruits are large and nearly round. The husk is hard, medium brown, and has a rough, hairy surface. Three round depressions are found on one end of the fruit. The fruit is used for its husk, white flesh, and liquid in the fruit called "milk." The fruit harvested from the coconut tree, which lives for 70 years, producing thousands of coconuts. The white flesh of the fruit is the coconut meat. The center contains a watery liquid coconut juice which is often sipped straight from the coconut. Coconut milk is made by simmering equal parts water and shredded coconut meat, then squeezing and straining the thick liquid remaining. Coconut cream is the same as coconut milk with a richer proportion of coconut to water (4 to 1)
Coconut can be peeled or unpeeled, as desired. Using a sharp knife cut it into half from the centre. Cut the half portion into another half and chop it by cutting them in small pieces approximately Â¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger.
The white flesh of the coconut fruit is the coconut meat. Coconut meat that has been dried or desiccated is very concentrated and has a low moisture content, which is why it has the highest total fat and saturated fat content. The meat in a young coconut is softer and more like gelatin than a mature coconut, so much so, that it is sometimes known as coconut jelly.
For any South Indian dishes, coconut paste is a must. It adds flavour, thickness and taste to the food cooked. The way you grind it and the amount of water added or if you have touched, everything matters. There are two ways you can go about doing this, either by chopping the coconut meat to small pieces or by grating and then making a paste of it. Grating the coconut using the traditional Indian instruments is quite daunting. For making the paste, take enough quantity and grind to a smooth paste. You should not add water; if required; just add a teaspoon for it to run. Other ingredients like ginger, garlic, green chilly etc can also be added while grinding. Coconut Paste is used in many dishes in Malaysia as an additional flavour, especially as a base of Indian Curry. It can make your dishes more delicious and appetizing. Coconut Paste might be a little bit hard in condition; it is natural as the oil is separated from the paste. It suggests that mix well before using it.
Coconut can be grated thinly or thickly using a grater as required by the recipe. Thickly grated can be used to make sauce or just simply added to vegetables during sautÃ. Thinly grated apple can be added to beverage or in salad.
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Posted by : Saba Ali, Islamabad
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