Friday, September 18, 2009

Thai Coconuts

Wednesday night I attended a raw food potluck dinner and demonstration. I've been to this group twice before and enjoy the members and food. I contributed flax seed crackers: plain, sesame seed and caraway, and kelp chips. Both dishes were highly successful, which meant I came home empty-handed and lots of people asked for the recipes.

After the dinner, a couple of members demonstrated how to open young coconuts imported from Thailand. They are quite different from the tropical coconuts with the hairy brown exteriors. They are best consumed when immature. The liquid inside, referred to as Coconut Water, is sweet and delicious; the flesh is white and gelatinous. As the coconut matures, the water changes color and taste. The flesh hardens and thins. Also the color becomes pink to purple to brown.

In selecting a Thai coconut, inspect the bottom. Make sure it does not give way to touch (not springy or soft). It should be white all around, no pink, brown, or purple markings. When you shake it, you should not be able to hear anything inside, no water moving about.

Because the coconut water is prized, when opening the coconut, you first remove the water. This is done by inserting a couple of holes at the top, one for drainage and one for air. Coconuts have about 1-2 cups of liquid inside.

Once the coconut is emptied, then you can whack it open. This requires brute strength, usually a cleaver. Most people attack the top, Once it's off, then you can access the flesh inside. Because the flesh is soft and can be removed simply by running a spoon around the edge.

Our hostess used the Thai coconuts to make a couple of items. First whipped cream. Although you don't need coconut water for this delight, the flavor is enhanced with the coconut water. Cashews are the base and the mixture is sweetened usually with dates. Agave nectar, stevia, and raw honey are also possibilities.

The second dish was coconog. This tastes like egg nog and uses almond milk plus coconut flesh blended together along with nutmeg. Thai coconuts are also a featured item in raw ice cream. Can't wait to make that!

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