Coconut is a versatile fruit being used in the beauty industry, as medicine and food too. It is not only digested as itself but also used as an ingredient to make meals tastier and nutritious.
In this article, we will look into how it can be used in different ways in food, and you could get some tips on how to use it the next time you buy it from the store.
Toasting The Coconut
This may sound berserk because you’ve probably only ever toasted bread but coconut, who does that? It is like toasting nuts in a sense and also brings that nuttiness of the coconut more.
Coconut is toasted, and just as toasting adds this rich flavor to bread, it does maximize the coconut’s flavor. All you need is one cup of shredded or flaked coconut.
The difference between shredded and flaked coconut is that flaked is much larger because it is in long wide flakes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees ad place the shredded coconut on a lined baking sheet baking for about 3 minutes.
After the time, open the oven, stir the coconut gently with a spatula, and then bake it for four more minutes until golden brown. Remove them and let them cool. You could also use the pan way, keep a constant eye on it, and stir it regularly to control how you want them to turn out.
To store it, get the right airtight container for that. It lasts to over a month for toasted coconut, and you probably won’t have it by then because it is so good! You could also use the toasted coconut as an ingredient when making pastries like scones and decorating your cakes.
It is also possible to buy an already toasted coconut from the pastry shop or baking aisle, but that has preservatives in it to make it last longer.
How To Roast A Coconut
Roasting coconut is also quite similar to toasting. However, you could choose not to shred or flake it.
- Cut the coconut meat in slices and then heat your skillet over medium heat.
- Add the coconut and cook, stirring the slices around until they are dry and golden brown. Make sure not to burn them. If you want to roast the shredded or flaked ones, you will still do the same then let it cool. You could also use your oven by preheating to 325 degrees.
- Put the coconut on the baking tray, and do not forget to line then bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Let them cool and serve.
If you want them sweetened, you could add maple syrup before putting them in the oven.
Coconut milk is from the white fleshy part of the coconut. It has a thick consistency, rich and creamy in texture. Coconut water is not coconut milk. That is the liquid found in the immature green coconuts. You can drink this liquid too. The milk does not occur naturally.
Instead, the fleshy part is mixed with water and makes the milk. You can make thick or thin coconut milk to suit what you prefer more. Thick coconut milk is from finely shredded flesh boiled then strained through a cheesecloth to produce the coconut milk.
The thin consistency is achieved when the now remaining shredded coconut in the cheesecloth is simmered in water and strained again to produce the coconut milk, which won’t be as thick as the later. To store it, pour it in an airtight bottle and refrigerate it for four days maximum.
Canned milk also lasts the same time, so refrigerate immediately, you get home though this one has a longer shelf life due to preservatives. As you refrigerate the milk, make sure to leave ½ an inch of space at the top for expanding purposes.
Frozen coconut milk can last up to three months before it goes bad.
Uses Of Coconut Milk
- Used as a base in making smoothies to help blend quickly.
- It can be used as lactose-free milk for the vegans.
- Almond milk or water when baking.
- It is used in making milkshakes and iced coffee.
- Used to make non-dairy cheese.
- Also used in making curries and adding flavor to food.
Does coconut milk go bad?
Like any other milk, coconut milk can also go bad. The thick one will last you to about seven days before it goes bad, while the thin coconut milk will take like three days to. Canned ones have a longer shelf life, but also, when opened, they may start to spoil.
To know it is bad, you will first notice the smell which is always rancid. Mold is another way of knowing if it is spoilt. You will see a film on the surface of the milk. Do not consume it! Of course, if it changes color and seems chunky, that’s a sign of it going bad.
How to use leftover coconut milk
You may have bought coconut milk to use in a recipe but ended up with a little extra. Thus you can decide to freeze it for another time and use it for:
- Quick morning treats such as microwave oats, granola, and cereal. The coconut milk adds richness and decadence to the meal, and you can add any other kind of milk.
- Chia pudding will add a little sweet, nutty flavor by substituting it for some original liquid in the recipe.
- Oven-baked fish or chicken. You could use it as a nestling bath for the meat and then cooking them. You could also add some simple tomato sauce or diced tomatoes to add more cooking liquid.
- Sauteed greens – Saute your leeks or kale with a little oil, and when they start to wilt, add the coconut milk then now add your salt or garlic powder.
- Coffee or Tea – You could top off your morning drink with some coconut milk for extra creaminess.
- Mashed potatoes – Coconut milk can also be added to add extra creaminess as you mash the potatoes balancing out the flavor with some cilantro or turmeric.
- Scrambled eggs – When added, it adds a soft fluffy texture to the eggs.
How To Make Coconut Flour
This is one of those recipes you make to use up any extra ingredients that you may have. To make the coconut flour, all you need is coconut pulp, leftover coconut, unsweetened shredded coconut, and water.
The coconut pulp is what is left after you make your coconut milk. This method of making coconut flour is not only easy but affordable.
- Depending on how much coconut pulp you have, use one or two baking sheets to spread the pulp on.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the baking trays with the pulp inside and bake for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until they turn golden brown. Remember to stir regularly. Also, how dried your pulp is will also determine how long you bake it.
- Remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes then blend in a high-speed blender to a fine powder.
- Keep it in an airtight container at room temperature for even months.
To note: When you use the coconut flour to bake, use 1.4 of the amount you would normally use because coconut flour is rich in fiber. You could opt to mix it with your normal one.
If you have never had coconut shrimp, it is sweet, deep-fried, and crunchy, making it super delicious. It is served with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce pairing up with the shrimp’s juiciness when you chew it in your mouth. So good! How to make coconut shrimp, you will need:
- Peeled and deveined large shrimp
- Whole wheat flour
- One large egg
- Sweetened shredded coconut
- Bread crumbs
- Olive oil
- Start by making your sauce of choice and refrigerate it
- Peel and devein the shrimps leaving the tails on.
- Prepare three bowls where one has the flour mix, which has the sweetened shredded coconut, the egg mix, and the bread crumbs mix.
- Place the coated shrimp on a baking tray, which is already lined and oiled. Bake for up to 12 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- Serve with the sauce and enjoy!
You could also pair it with:
- Veggie spring rolls – It is light and has refreshing flavors that will balance out the crunch shrimp’s richness.
- Pasta – This is also a right choice because pasta is filling. Then top it off with a mild sauce. Many swear by the fettuccine alfredo, but whatever pasta you prefer is fine.
- French fries – Fries are always a classic side dish, especially since they are both crispy. You could go with the sweet potato ones too.
- Drinks – Every seafood cuisine is finished well with a good drink. Frozen daiquiris or a Pina colada can never miss.
- Dessert – Go with something light and sweet like cheesecake.
How many calories does coconut shrimp have? It is said that one homemade coconut shrimp has 126 calories and only 7 g of fat. Half of the calories come from fat.
In a restaurant, though, they contain 530 calories, and dipping them in the sauce adds even more calories. Next time you order it in a restaurant as an appetizer, and you are one to count calories, split it with a friend.
This is a famous Indian cuisine, gluten-free, and vegan friendly. It is blended coconut mixed with chilies, cumin, ginger, and salt. It is a pretty easy dish to make at home.
After it is tempered with a little oil, dried red chilies, mustard seeds, and hing and curry leaves. Basics of an Indian dish. Recipes defer, but this one is a basic one that you can alter to fit your preference.
- Blend coconut, green chilies, ginger, salt, and water.
- Blend till it is a smooth paste then add it to a bowl.
- Add oil in the pan and let it heat up over medium heat then add the mustard seeds. Cook them till they pop then add the hing.
- Add the red chilies and stir for 30secs, then add curry leaves. Stir and then remove from the pan.
- Pour the mixture over the bowl of chutney mix and serve!
This is also a pretty easy thing to cook in our list of coconut recipes. As you would assume, it is loaded with coconut goodness. One disclaimer is that you can’t solely just use coconut flour because, as we now know, it is rich in fiber, and you need like 20% of that, and it is okay. You can use some of it, but you can’t substitute all-purpose flour unless you increase the amount of liquid since it requires a lot of it.
On to the recipe!
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease the loaf pan with baking spray and set it aside.
- Bake coconut flakes, then let it cool. Do this like a day before.
- Whisk together eggs, coconut milk, lime juice, and vanilla extract.
- In another separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, butter, sugar, and lime zest.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix them well.
- Take your shredded coconut and mix it in there too.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and place it in the middle rack, baking it for 50-60 minutes.
- Remove and let it cool.
How To Make Coconut Mojitos
Coconut mojitos are a favorite, especially in summer, because of how tropical they are. It is the perfect drink to kick off the summer as you catch up with friends. It is also super easy to make. Ingredients:
- Two limes
- Four springs of mint
- One shot of light rum
- One shot of coconut rum
- 3 tbsp of cream of coconut which is sweetened
- Seven fl oz club soda
- Tear the mint leaves and add them in a glass
- Take the limes, cut them in half, and squeeze them in the glass. Add a couple of wedges to the glass too.
- To release more flavor, muddle the mint and limes in the glass.
- Add the cream of coconut, the shot of light rum, and the shot of coconut rum then stir.
- Add ice of course and top the glass with club soda, then stir.
- Garnish with a slice of lime and enjoy!
Another drink you can enjoy thanks to the coconut is a coconut margarita. It is also an easy drink to make if you have the ingredients.
- 1 ½ ounce of tequila
- 1-ounce coconut cream
- 1-ounce coconut milk
- ½ ounce lime juice
- A splash of half and half
- Some simple syrup
- ½ cup of sugar
- ½ cup of water
- Lime wedges
- Bring to a boil the sugar and water till the sugar dissolves.
- Mix everything, cover, and shake mimicking a mixologist and strain into a glass.
- Serve with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.
Sweetening Coconut Flakes
Sweetened coconut is used when making sweets or granola. Unsweetened coconut is mostly used in savory dishes like curries or Asian sauces. You need:
- 3 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- ¾ cup of unsweetened natural coconut
- Put the water and sugar in the pot and bring that to a boil. Stir till sugar dissolves.
- Add the natural unsweetened coconut and stir until the sugar syrup is absorbed into the coconut.
- Spread the now sweetened coconut out on waxed paper and let it dry for 20-30 minutes
Coconut Crab Recipe
There are real animals called coconut crabs, but we aren’t looking into that. This recipe is one where you use grated coconut in the preparation of the crab curry. You will need:
- ¼ cup coriander seeds
- 11/2 tbsp cumin seeds
- Two ¼ pounds live crab
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- Sea salt
- 5 ½ ounces white vinegar
- 2 ounces desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
- Five garlic cloves
- One large green chopped chili
- One chopped white onion
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- One diced medium ripe tomato
- Ten curry leaves
- ½-ounce fresh turmeric which is peeled and finely grated
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 9 ounces of unsweetened coconut milk
- Remove the legs of the crab and crack them. Clean out the inside of the crab with your fingers then chop it in half.
- Heat a saute pan over medium heat then add coriander seeds the cumin seeds and peppercorns. Stir regularly until they are fragrant and toasted, then cool them.
- Make the paste by grinding the mixture that you just toasted using a spice grinder, then transfer to the food processor and add the ginger, garlic, coconut, chili, and onions and then blend them to a paste.
- Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over low heat, then add the paste and saute till fragrant, and the juices evaporate for like 10 minutes. Add the tomato, curry leaves, turmeric, a pinch of salt, chili powder until the tomato pieces melt into the sauce.
- Add the crab and 4 ½ ounces of water and increase the heat to medium, bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat after some time to let the crab pieces of cooking for about 10 minutes thoroughly. Add in the coconut milk and simmer for 3 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Serve the crab sauce in wide soup plates.
When cooking coconut rice, the type of rice you choose is all up to you. From basmati to jasmine rice. Today we will look at cooking it in a rice cooker. Making coconut rice is not technical because it is mixing the rice with coconut milk water and salt.
The amount of rice depends on how many people are consuming it.
- Add it to a mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water running is clear. Use the rice cookers measuring cup to measure the water to add to the rice to cook.
- Add the rice to the rice cooker, your can of coconut milk, and then fill it with the measured water.
- Close the lid and turn it on pressing the white rice button.
- After it cooks, if you like, you could sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes to add texture.
- Serve and Enjoy!
You could serve it with any curry or meat stew you would have with normal cooked rice. Nothing much changes only the flavor that the coconut milk adds to the rice and the texture. So beef or Hawaiian chicken will still work—even vegetables for the vegan club.
How To Make Coconut Flan
This is a very delicious dessert to make and needs only simple items to make it.
- 13.5 ounces Coconut milk
- 14 ounces Condensed milk
- ½ cup Evaporated milk
- 5 Eggs
- ½ cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Coconut flakes preferably shredded
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Take your sugar and heat it in a pan over medium heat, stirring it till melted and brown. Swirl the melted sugar around the bottom and sides of a bigger pan to coat.
- Combine the coconut milk and the rest of the kinds of milk, eggs, and the vanilla extract in a blender and blend. Pour the mixture in the coated pan.
- Prepare a water bath wider than the pan with the mixture and fill it with hot water until it is ½ inch depth.
- Put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Keep checking with a table knife if it comes out clean when inserted, and you will know it is ready.
- Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes then refrigerate it for about 4 hours.
- To unmold, place the pan on warm water for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the pan’s edges. Invert a serving plate over the pan and turn it over carefully.
- Top with coconut flakes and serve in slices.
Making A Coconut Smoothie
If you are craving something sweet, then this is also an option on the table. It has more fats than most smoothies but just the right kind of fats. You could take it literally any time of the day, even in the morning. What you’d require:
- 400 ml of coconut milk
- Four bananas; frozen or not
- Four dates
- ¼ cup almonds
- 1 cup of ice
- Chopped almonds for toppings
- Blend the ingredients until they are smooth and in the consistency of your liking.
- Add the toppings and get your straw.
This is also another pastry you can make and add the coconut goodness. You need:
- 25 g cream plain flour
- 50 g desiccated coconut
- 75 g butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 75 g caster sugar
- One beaten egg
- 150 ml of milk
- Get your oven preheated 400 degrees.
- Grease 2 flat baking trays. Sieve the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a bowl.
- Add the butter and mix till it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the sugar and coconut next and mix well.
- Get the egg and milk and mix till you have a stiff consistency.
- Use a dessert spoon, scoop drop-like amounts of the mixture, and spread out o the prepared pans.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and risen. Remove from the oven and transfer the buns to a wire tray for cooling.
- Brush the top with a jam of your choice, then dip in the extra desiccated coconut.