The coconut is an incredible fruit, used by cultures all around the world. Pacific Islanders call the palm tree “The Tree of Life,” and believe that coconuts can cure just about any imaginable illness. Scientific studies seem to back them up: Raw coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut butter have all proven to have antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties. In addition to being a delicious source of fiber, vitamins and minerals (including calcium, potassium and electrolytes), coconut has antioxidant properties for healthy skin, can help prevent osteoporosis, lowers cholesterol and helps prevent heart disease. There are a million different ways you can use coconut in your cooking, but here are a few of our favorite coconut recipes.
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from The All New All Purpose Joy Of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker & Ethan Becker
INGREDIENTS: If they are available, simmer kaffir lime leaves or lemon grass in the coconut milk first for a delicate citrus flavor • 3 cups Chicken Stock • 2 2/3 cups unsweetened coconut milk • 2 small Thai peppers or 3 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and sliced • 3 Tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla) or soy sauce • 1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger • 1/8 tsp salt • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced, • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
DIRECTIONS: Bring Chicken Stock and coconut milk to a boil in a soup pot. • Reduce heat and stir in peppers, fish sauce, ginger, salt. • Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in chicken breasts and lime juice. • Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. • Ladle into warmed bowls, and garnish with cilantro.
from A Taste of Africa by Dorina Hafner
This curry (pronounced ‘sah-ma-ki wah nahzi’) is popular among the coastal dwellers of Tanzania and on Zanzibar (a.k.a. ”the Island of the Spices”).
INGREDIENTS: 2 lb firm fish (e.g. tuna, snapper, salmon or trevally) • salt to taste • 3 Tb vegetable oil • 1 medium onion, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, crushed • I Tbsp curry powder • 2 Tbsp tomato paste • 1-2 chilies (hot peppers, optional) • juice of ½ lemon • ¾ pt coconut milk
DIRECTIONS: Clean and rinse the fish, then season with salt. • Heat the oil in a pan and brown the fish. • Set aside and keep warm. • In the same oil, fry onion until brown. • Add the garlic and stir; cook for 1 minute then add the curry powder, tomato paste, chilies (hot peppers optional) and lemon juice. • Mix well and keep stirring so the mixture does not burn. • Cook for 2-3 minutes. • Add the coconut milk and stir until it boils. • Turn the heat down and add the fried fish. • Simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to concentrate and sauce to thicken to a creamy consistency. • Serve hot with boiled or fried rice.
from The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen by Carolyn Scott-Hamilton
INGREDIENTS: 3 cups coconut flakes • ½ cup all-purpose flour • 4 eggs yolks • 1 cup packed brown sugar • ¼ tsp salt • ½ cup butter • 2 Tb vanilla extract • ½ cup chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 13 x 9 in cookie sheets. • In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the coconut, flour, egg yolks, brown sugar, salt, butter and vanilla together into a dough. • Divide the dough into 24 uniform balls, place on greased cookie sheets, and bake for about 35 minutes until golden. • Remove from the oven and let cool. • Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler and drizzle on top of the cookies. • For extra crunchiness, add finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the cookie batter. • For extra sweetness, drizzle some caramel on top as well.
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