Coconut is a tropical fruit that has numerous benefits and has been used in Indian cuisine for a long time. It is rich in protein and has substances that help your body to fight internal parasites. Let’s check out how you can use coconut in its various forms - coconut flour, coconut powder, or desiccated coconut in various dishes:
Coconut in Rice Dishes
Coconut rice can be cooked in various ways. In southern India, the dish varies as you move across geographical locations.
1. Coconut rice with coconut milk - You can easily make coconut milk from desiccated coconut. To do that add hot water to desiccated coconut in a 2:1 ratio and let it soak for a couple of hours. Blend the mixture for a few seconds and strain it. That’s it. You have coconut milk for making coconut rice.
To make fluffy coconut rice:
Rinse the rice thoroughly a few times to remove any excess starch and soak it in water for half an hour
After that mix one cup of rice in a cup of coconut milk diluted with water. You have to dilute the thick coconut milk so that the rice can absorb all the flavors and doesn’t turn out gooey.
Dilute coconut milk with water and add it to a pan. Add one cup of rice into the pan
Bring the mixture in the pan to a boil and stir it carefully from the edges to the center to avoid breaking the softened rice grains.
Lower the heat and cover the pan till the rice is cooked
2. Coconut rice with desiccated coconut - While coconut milk is the traditional choice for Indian coconut rice, you can also save a lot of time and effort if you make the same with coconut powder:
Combine a cup of long-grain jasmine rice, water, coconut powder, lime leaves, salt, sugar, and toasted desiccated coconut in a saucepan and put it on high heat.
Immediately turn down the heat to a medium or low setting when the mixture comes to a boil and let it simmer.
The liquid should be absorbed by the rice within 15 minutes of simmering.
After the liquid is absorbed turn off the heat and let it rest for around 10 minutes.
Fluff it up with a fork and it’s ready to go.
You can garnish the coconut rice with desiccated coconut toasted to a beautiful golden brown color and serve it with various dishes, especially curries. That brings us to the next use of coconut.
Coconut in Curries
1. Spicy South Indian vegetarian curry - Despite the long list of ingredients, this curry is a lazy recipe that is easy to make and has a lingering chili kick that will make you crave more. To make this dish you need these spices:
Whew, that was a lot. Now let’s move on to the recipe:
Add all the paste spices to a pan and gently roast them till they turn fragrant. Turn down the heat and remove the spices and paste from the pan
Get desiccated coconut in the same pan and roast it till it turns golden
In a spice grinder, turn your roasted spices into a powder and add the toasted desiccated coconut and blend it as well. Finally, make it into a thick paste by adding a small amount of water.
Heat a pan with some oil and add mustard seeds. Wait for the crackling and add diced onions. Cook them till they turn translucent.
Add the ginger and garlic and fry them till the raw garlic smell goes away
Add bay leaf, turmeric, and chopped tomato and fry them till the tomatoes turn soft and the skin comes off
Add the previously prepared curry paste and fry it gently
Add water and chopped pieces of eggplants. Cook them in the broth till they soften
Add cooked chickpeas and coconut milk. Stir and simmer and finally season it with lime juice and salt.
2. Mutton Curry - For a spicy mutton curry with a coconut base, the recipe sticks close to the vegetarian option. The spices are almost identical with the addition of green chilies and red chili powder. The key difference here is the marination and cooking time. Wash the pieces of goat meat and drain them well.
Let it marinate in the blend of spices, coconut milk, and curd for at least an hour and after that follow through with a similar cooking process as the vegetable curry. Make sure that you keep the flame low and stir the mutton pieces when you simmer the mutton in the curry broth.
Don’t let it stick to the pan. That’s going to burn the mutton and make the task of cleaning your cookware a massive pain.
Coconut in Desserts
1. Coconut Ladoos - Ladoos are available throughout India with their open variations and flavor. They are some of the easiest desserts and they require little to no cooking. To make coconut ladoos you need to:
Add cardamom powder, jaggery, milk, and desiccated coconut in a saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil and stir well till the ingredients blend in and the coconut softens up
Simmer it into a thick milky solution
Add the broth to coconut flour and knead it into a sweet coconut dough.
Make round coconut balls out of them and garnish them with desiccated coconut, toasted cashews, and raisins.
2. Barfi - To make coconut barfi you need to add coconut powder or coconut flour to the pan with the simmering milk solution and let it simmer till the moisture dries up. After the mixture turns dense and heavy, press it down in a pan and sprinkle cashews, pistachios, and other garnishes. After it cools down it’s time to cut them into the familiar square barfi shape.
Now that you know all these recipes, it’s time to try them out at home. You can buy desiccated coconut powder for all the recipes at the Coconutty Store. For the calorie conscious, we have the right product i.e low fat desiccated coconut powder to cut down on those calories with every dish.