Top Indian Coconut Recipes
In South India, whenever any discussion about health comes up, it is very common to hear grandmas telling the younger generation – just have lots of coconut and coconut products; then you don’t have to sit and talk about health like this! This timeless wisdom has been proved to be right, time and again by nutritionists across the world. Made of medium-chain fatty acids, the coconut is one of the healthiest foods in the world. In any form, be it Coconut Water with Coconut Meat, Coconut Milk For Gravies and Curries, coconut oil or coconut flesh, coconut is a desirable addition to your diet.
The best part is that it is available readily all through the year! Coconut water is commonly sold by roadside vendors, while grated coconut and coconut milk can be easily made at home. Coconut milk is made by blending fresh grated coconut with water and straining it through a muslin cloth. The scrapings left behind after extracting the milk can be sun-dried and used as coconut flour, an ingredient that is becoming popular in baking. Coconut milk is dairy free, lactose free and grains free. It is used commonly in Asian cooking. Not just Indian cooking, but other Oriental cuisines too feature several classic dishes made with coconut milk as the base. Coconut milk is one of the signature ingredients of Thai cooking. Some health-conscious people even like to drink warm coconut milk as their morning beverage, either plain or mildly sweetened with palm jaggery and tinged with cardamom! Try it once and you will agree that it tastes like nectar! Coconut Water too is an anytime, anywhere beverage, which tastes great just plain. It can also be combined with lemon juice, mint and other fruit juices and herbs to make mouth-watering and rejuvenating drinks.
In South India, one of the most common everyday subzis is made by boiling chopped veggies, tempering it with mustard, urad dal and green chillies and garnishing it with freshly grated coconut. The coconut makes the dish so interesting that people don’t tire of having it every single day. Another everyday subzi made in South India is kootu, where a mixture of cooked veggies and dal is perked up with a moderately spicy coconut paste. Not a day passes without coconut being used in the kitchen! On festive days, the cooking is not considered festive unless it’s laden with coconut – right from the kheer (payasam) to the vegetables and lentils, coconut finds its way into almost every dish. Try the Moong Dal Payasam, or Appam with Madras Onion Stew to get a taste of South Indian favourites.
Coconut is used a lot along the West coast too, in regions like Mangalore and Goa. It is also used in Maharashtrian and Gujarati cuisine. Have a go at some of our favourites, like the Coconut Kadhi, Palak Coconut Kadhi and Coconut Milk Pulao. Corn combines well with coconut as both have pleasing, mellow flavours that complement each other. Try the Corn Curry ( Microwave Recipe) and Corn in Coconut Curry. When you want something grander, go for the Hara Chana Coconut Curry with Methi Muthia. You can also make the coconut into a versatile Coconut Sauce that can be drizzled on just about any dish, be it Lasagne, Set Dosa or a spicy stuffed paratha!
Coconut is one of the most versatile and easily available ingredients in India, and it is not surprising that it is used so extensively in our cuisine. While generations of Indians have used coconut for its taste, today there is greater awareness about its health benefits. Many health-conscious youngsters, especially endurance athletes, are consciously making a pro-coconut shift in their diets. In fact, we have even come up with the recipe for an interesting Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil Coffee Creamer, which makes our morning cuppa so healthy and tasty!