I’m hearing all this good stuff about the benefits of coconut, whether as oil or milk or coconut flour. The latter of course is from those giving up grains who want flour of some sort, whether to coat/bread food or whatever.
There’s even supposed to be coconut vinegar out there. I read a recipe from a blogger who evidently used it, although I’ve lost that source, and haven’t seen it around anyway. But Wikipedia confirms it exists (no, I don’t consider Wikipedia a primary source on anything, as anyone can edit to their own whims and ebbs and flows, except on those few topics with a Lockdown — usually political in nature. But Wikipedia is a great resource to find other resources, whether in the citations at the bottom of pages or because it inspires my own further Google searches.)
Anyhow, there’s a lot of people out there in bloggerdom who consider coconut to be a primary or perhaps at least relatively-essential food source. There are also those allergic to coconut, as any close reading of a container holding a coconut-derived substance will inform you.
I’ve started acquiring a few coconut products:
It’s spring out, so I assembled the containers on my well cap, to show off the spring daffodils, and you will notice the snail sundial next to the coconut products, symbolic of slow food. (Well, actually not, it’s just where that particular garden gew-gaw happens to live…)
I have two types of coconut oil: the virgin and the refined. The virgin supposedly can take higher heat than the refined; I have yet to open the refined jar. Some people claim that the virgin coconut oil tastes highly of coconut, but at least with this brand, I don’t find it having any taste. At current room temperature, these are both solids. I suspect that at summer levels of room temperature these will liquify. (I don’t have central air, so I will find out.) Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but apparently it is constituted differently than most other saturated fats. Everything I’ve been reading points to major differences in sources of saturated, and unsaturated, fats.
The coconut milk is around because I love Thai food. I have designs for it in soup. It can also be substituted for milk or cream in Western recipes.
The coconut water was a lark at The Atlantic Food Market, Danbury, Connecticut. Here, they sold two brands, one with added sugar and one without (I bought the one without!) Doing a quick search online, I find that it is considered a “sports drink”, but apparently not as good as Gatorade for high intensity sports activity. Apparently it is high in potassium but less reliable as high-workout source of sodium. At any rate, coconut water comes from immature coconuts that haven’t begun to produce milk or true coconut solids.
Also, searching around I found a recipe for a juice using coconut water.
I modified it.
1 seedless cucumber (English cucumber), chopped
Juice from 1 small lime
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger, compacted
1/3 cup coconut water
Get your Smart Stick out and pulverize this all together. Place in fridge to chill, then drink. (If you do use a regular cucumber with its waxy thick skin, PEEL IT FIRST! And you can grate the cuke and strain it so the seeds are not there, but seriously, if you find a thin-skinned un-waxed seedless cuke as I happened to do, go that way first!)
This was pretty excellent, with one notable problem.
I detected no taste of the coconut water. I coulda saved money and just hit the tap water up for it.
Coconut water, chilled
It’s a sports drink, yes? I can just drink it as-is. I had a swallow or two. Something was lacking. No, it’s not the lack of the added sugar of the brand I rejected at the Asian market, I’ve trained myself out of sweet beverages a long time back. It’s just an “acquired taste”, which merely means I myself haven’t acquired it. No doubt it is still healthier than Gatorade but we need to work on this item…
Look closer at the can:
What do we see? Two young coconuts hovering protectively over a clay container with a raw chicken laid out inside. Chicken? Hmmm.
At the moment I happened to be marinating chicken thighs in Balsamic vinegar, garlic, pepper and a hint of salt. Hmmm. Okay, so the first version of what I attempted was not truly Indochinese, but now we have this as my recommended Thai-style recipe:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs. Cut into just larger than bite size portions (chunk them into thirds or fourths.)
Lime juice/rice wine vinegar (as a substitute for the above Balsamic vinegar that I happened to have already set the thighs up with, to get us more intensely Thai…)
Ground pepper and salt to taste.
Marinate the above for a couple of hours or so.
Sear the thighs in a skillet in medium-high heat, both sides.
Coconut water (most of a can — the rest that wasn’t used in the juice recipe…)
1/4 teaspoon ground galagal root, or better, yet, 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated galangal root
1/4 teaspoon Thai fish sauce
2 baby bok choy, chopped
Add everything but the bok choy to the above part, and simmer away lightly for about 20 minutes. When you think it is done, cut into a largest piece of chicken to check (no pink!). If good, add the bok choy, and simmer lightly for another five minutes. Serve, and be sure to add some of the broth. It will have a mild coconut flavor which I find quite satisfactory in this context.
I think those hot chili peppers might possibly be really good (in moderation) in this context. None in my home at this point in time, however.
Gonna close off with some links on coconut and coconut water: