You can’t make a piña colada or a decent Thai curry without it, its water makes a great recovery drink, and its fibrous husk, when burned, repels mosquitoes! These are just three of many excellent reasons to celebrate World Coconut Day which takes place on Friday, September 2.
One of nature’s most versatile products, the coconut plant, and its various parts, can be used for food and drink, cosmetics and decorating. Coconuts are also high in iron, magnesium, fibre and protein and coconut products play prominent roles in gluten-free, soy-free and vegan diets.
With all this in mind, here are four fabulous recipes, utilising this versatile fruit, from the chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio to try out on your friends this World Coconut Day.
500g large prawns peeled and deveined, tails intact
½ cup plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
coconut oil for frying (you can also use vegetable oil but taste is not as good)
½ cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup soda water
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
Season prawns with salt and pepper and set aside. In one shallow bowl, add ½ cup flour for dredging. In another shallow bowl, whisk the batter ingredients together until combined. The batter should resemble pancake consistency. If too thick, add a little extra soda water and whisk. In the third bowl, mix the shredded coconut and bread crumbs. Dredge each prawn in the flour, shaking off any excess, and then dip in the batter, again shaking off any excess, and coat in the breadcrumb/coconut mixture. Lightly press the coating onto the prawn. Once done, arrange the prawns in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and freeze until firm (about 30-45 minutes). In a deep frying pan, heat coconut oil (about 5cm-7cm deep) until hot. Fry the frozen prawns in batches of about 6 to 7 for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and crispy. Drain them on a paper towel lined plate. Serve with a sweet chilli sauce.
Spicy Coconut & Chicken Noodle Soup (serves 6)
100g uncooked rice vermicelli noodles
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup thinly sliced shallots
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium chilli, sliced
1 tbs red curry paste
1 tsp ginger
1½ tsp curry powder
4 cups chicken stock
400ml coconut milk
3 tbs cold water
2 tbs cornflour
500g cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast, shredded
170g sugar snap peas, diagonally sliced
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
¼ cup chopped spring onions
¼ cup unsalted cashews, toasted and chopped
Cook noodles according to package directions, rinse with cold water, drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic, chilli and ginger and fry gently for about 4 minutes making sure not to burn any of the ingredients. Stir in curry paste and curry powder and cook for a further minute. Add stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Combine 3 tablespoons cold water and cornflour in a small bowl. Add cornflour mixture, shredded chicken breast, snap peas and salt to pan and simmer for 2 minutes or until thickened. Place a third of a cup of noodles in each bowls and top with 1 cup stock mixture. Garnish with chopped coriander, spring onions and cashew nuts.
Not to be confused with macarons, or even Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, these treats are chewy, sweet, moreish and so easy to make.
2 large egg whites
1tsp vanilla extract
1 cup desiccated coconut
Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Using a hand mixer, briskly beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the honey, vanilla, coconut, and salt into the egg whites with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Scoop heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving space in between to prevent overcrowding. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on top and around the edges. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.
120ml fresh pineapple juice
90ml white rum
60ml coconut cream
2 cups crushed ice
Pour all the ingredients into a blender and blend briefly at high speed. Pour into a tall glass, garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple and a cherry.