11 May 2006

Save the coconut!


It probably is very easy to guess- but the way this one looks, I thought it would lead to some interesting guesses.

This post is going to be on Save the _______ ! Coming up soon...

LG and Lakshmi have guessed it right so far!




Being the health conscious one, I don't use much of coconut in my daily cooking. Whether coconut is good or bad for health, that's one controversy I'm not getting into, at this point of time. However, when I want to make that coconut chutney, or 'arachu vitta sambhar' (Sambhar with freshly ground masala) or use it for a garnish, I like to have fresh grated coconut on hand.

Since I use the coconut on the odd occasion, breaking open a whole coconut and using a few slivers leads to the rest of it getting spoilt (even when refrigerated). The other option is grating the whole thing and freezing in a box. This gets problematic when i need a bit of the stuff and I have to struggle with the whole big lot- break off a little and thaw.

I find that the following solution serves me best and may be it will suit you too!

1. Break off the shell by hitting it hard around the central circumference on a big stone or a stony edge.

2. Usually, it will break off into two halves. You can keep a bowl beneath, while breaking to collect the sweet coconut water. In some occasions, the shell may break off leaving the whole coconut inside intact (the way it is in the picture). In the latter, you will have to cut open the whole nut into two halves-collecting the coconut water in a bowl.

3. Grate the flesh, or cut it into big pieces and mill in a food processor.



4.Stuff the grated coconut into an ice tray as in the picture above. Leave overnight in the freezer.



5.Extract the coconut cubes and save them in a Ziploc bag in the deep freezer. Now you can have exactly as much fresh coconut as you want and yet save the rest.



6.Whenever you need some of this for a recipe, just remove the required number of cubes into a bowl and nuke them for 1 min in the defrost mode.




Some coconut delights~

coconut chutney

Coconut chutney


Choco cocont scones

Choco-coconut scones (Adapted from Meeta's Chunky chocolate scones )


cofee coconut rum cake


Coffee coconut rum cake- Adapted from Susan's Spicy coconut chai cake

I've got two questions for you. Would you call this a fruit, a vegetable or a nut? What's your favourite coconut recipe? Would love to hear from you !

This is my entry for Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging



29 comments:

Meeta said...

Ok my gues is a bun, pumpkin or a alien!

Meeta said...

save the alien hehehe!

Inji Pennu said...

coconut!

Anonymous said...

coconut

Nandita said...

anymore??

Lakshmi said...

coconut

Kalyn said...

I give up but everyone seems to be guessing coconut. Guess I haven't seen that many coconuts.

Nandita said...

Haha, that was fun- trust LG from Kerala to recognize the coconut BANG ON ! I felt it was too easy- but this time when I was breaking the coconut- the shell broke off and the nut came out whole. I had never seen a whole fresh coconut without it's shell, and it looked pretty unusual.

Obviously, it looks like the others who are more familiar with the different avtaars of the coconut- found it pretty normal !

Well done LG, anonymous and Lakshmi! And thanks Meeta and Kalyn for taking the trouble to guess :)

Now read on...Save the coconut

Vaishali said...

Hey Nandita,
I missed the whole drama. :( :( :( I, too, would have guessed coconut.
Anyway, I, too, make frozen coconut cubes. Ginger and garlic pastes (separately as well as together) can also be frozen to cubes and stored like this. However, I never did any freezing back in Pune. The power-cuts are so often there, that the frozen food is thawed at least twice a day in the freezer. Not good, not healthy.

Vineela said...

Hai nanditha,
Nice idea to store.I cut into pieces and store i ziplog.
But garlic ginger paste will be don e in your procedure.
I like coconut burfi,coconut chutney,coconut cookies ....
thanks for sharing.
vineela

Santhi said...

I missed the guessing game :(((((((

Nice idea nandita..
But I can never sae aany cocnut to freeze in my home :):):)

I think I will call it a fruit...

Nandita said...

Vaishali, I missed you in the guessing game coz you are generally so prompt- but after everyone started guessing it right, there was no point in pulling along. Bombay is reeling under power cuts too, but touch wood, some of the western suburbs are saved.

Yes Vineela- in US when I didn;t have a smaller mixer, I would grind the masala for Kootu (coconut, cumin, gr, chillies ) and freeze them as cubes- used to be extremely convenient.

Hey Santhi- Haha, you must be using a lot of coconut in cooking- traditionally so do we, at mom's place she breaks a coconut, and she finds use for the whole thing. Here, between me and DH, we can't consume as much-

Well, the drama was very short lived but it was fun!

The Baklava Queen said...

Well, now that I've learned how to open and use a coconut, thanks to you, I'm just going to have to go out and find one!

Thanks for inviting me to visit your site.... your recipes look fantastic, and I think I'm going to have to get back to cooking Indian food very soon. Those mango pancakes look fantastic!

Inji Pennu said...

thats a neat idea to freeze them in ice trays.never thought of that.

Inji Pennu said...

For some reason, I cant see your monthly archives? Have you set that option?

Luv2cook said...

Nandita:

I missed the guessing fun too. For soem reason your blog wasn't coming up for me last night. Must be "blogger problems".

I would have guessed coconut too. This used to happen quite often (the coconut breaking one whole piece) at my grandparents place where they had coconut trees.

My favorite coconut recipe, hands down has to be the yellow/green coconut pachadi that goes with rice (not the idli one). As soon as I get a mortar and a pestle, that is the first chutney I am gonna make :). My second favorite is kobbari louzu the sweet ball/bar thingy..

I consider cocoonut a fruit!

Nandita said...

Hi Baklavaqueen,
Im very happy that you liked the Indian recipes! Mango pancakes is just something out my head, doesn;t belong to any cuisine...or does it??

LG- i thought my monthly archives were active, I shall check that out right now, thanks for pointing out

Hi Luv,
Thanks for sharing your fav recipes- mortar pestle does sound so retro and exciting, once i move into a house with a HUGEE kitchen, i'm going to start collecting all those traditional stuff! Didn't quite get what the secodn recipe was though...

Virginie said...

I don't use fresh coconut a lot because it's to big to finish in time. But it'said to be better than the dessicated ones. I'll try your tip. Thank you for it.

Nandita said...

Thanks virginie!

Anonymous said...

Your website has a useful information for beginners like me.
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Anonymous said...

Very pretty site! Keep working. thnx!
»

Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your site, very nice graphics!
»

Anonymous said...

Really amazing! Useful information. All the best.
»

Nandita said...

Thanks a great deal- glad that you found the blog useful

Janani said...

A method that I learnt from a fantastic Sri Lankan tamil vegetarian cook is to grate the coconut , take small handfulls and give them a small squeeze to shape it into a round or an oval and then arrange it in a single layer in a box and refrigerate. That way, you need only take out one ball of it to use. When I make thoran/poriyal type dry curries that call for grated coconut I just put the whole ball on top of the curry and close it. The heat loosens the ball and then I mix it up with the rest. Otherwise, I can nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds and use as well.

Vidwata said...

hi!

I just bought a coconut and managed to break into two and collect the water. Now I don't know how to scrape out the coconut (it is still intact in the shell) to make chutney!

Should I try breaking it further and scraping with knife (seems slightly scary)?

Or any other handy tip??

Thanks
Vid

Nandita said...

Vidwata,
Welcome to saffron trail!
Sorry i had to reply you here, coz your blogger profile isnt visible, so cannot access your blog or ur email.
Here's the answer.
Break the two halves into smaller pieces with the shell itself. You could use a heavy pestle or some sort of stone, or bang it against some rock outdoors. After that it is easy to pry the flesh from the shell, and you could either grate it or throw the flesh pieces in the food processor and then go on to save the scrapings.

Vidwata said...

Thanks Nandita!

You can visit my blog at http://vidwata.blogspot.com

I do not write about cooking though! Just took to writing as a hobby!

Came to your page while searching for tips to break coconut!!

Actually I recovered from chickenpox and I have been recommended to apply coco water on the spots... So I thought I need to now do some magic with the coconut too!!!

And just for the record, I love cooking too!

Varsha said...

Hi
I just read your page of storing coconuts in the freezer.I buy fresh and cut into pieces and store it in a ziploc bag in the freezer.I heat it in the microwave for 30secs and grind it with onions for kulambhu.but I find some oil coming out of it everytime.how do i prevent this.i am fed of making kulambhu.My kulambhu has some white thing floating on top everytime and i hate it.Please help.