Sunday, October 18, 2009

How to Grate Fresh Coconut

It's been a month since my last post and really even longer since I've been inspired to get creative in the kitchen. I tried so very hard to push myself to make something new but I just kept falling back to the comforts ( we had a lot of chicken potato burritos...)

So, it took our latest themed dinner party to break me out of my shell.

Ahhh, Indian Food night. I'd been looking forward to this theme for forever. I selected an amazing recipe for Southern Spiced Lahori Chicken Curry from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness and I'd already sent Aubrey to the city to get all the unique ingredients. I was all ready to go except I forgot to get unsweeted grated coconut. No prob, they always have that junk at the Wal-Mart, so off I went.

I was wrong. There was no grated coconut to be found other than the severely sweetened version of which I despise. Oh, but wait... could they? Do they? YES, they do have real, actual, whole coconuts. Leave it to my Wal-Mart to finally come through with an off the wall item. I had no other choice.

I bought the little dude.

Now, I realize this isn't exactly a seasonal post. People are usually thinking about coconuts when it's a little bit warmer outside. As for me, it's the middle of fall and I need me some coconut. I put on some N'Sync to psych myself up and set out trying to figure out how to conquer the coconut. Fortunately, Indian Home Cooking has some suggestions as to how to crack into these babies.

Step one: They say to get a screwdriver or a sharpening steel to poke into the "eyes" in order to drain the coconut juice. HA! I say...

Step two: Pour out the juice or save to make a "lovely, sweet and very refreshing drink."

Psssh. I only had six hours until showtime.

Step three: "Bake the coconut in a 350 degree F oven to make the white flesh pull away from the brown husk." Sure, how long? doesn't say!!! I went with 25 minutes.
Step four: Wrap the coconut in a towl and bang on it with a hammer to split it open...can do.

Look at that! It smelled deliciously toasty and I felt like such a success. Except, now's probably a good time to tell you that there was actually a second coconut partaking in this process. Just incase I screwed up on the time I left the second one in for about 35 minutes. This is what happened:

Oh, and that delicious toasty smell? Replace that with roasted windex and you've got an idea of how foul this was. I'm not quite sure if it was rotten to begin with or if the ten extra minutes did it in. Either way, 25 minutes worked great so I'd rather not try 35 again. Into the trash this went. Now, onward!

Step five: Use a flathead screw driver to separate the white flesh from the hard shell. (Not as easy as it sounds but doable... have no fear if it breaks away in small pieces. Oh, and it takes some force.)

Step six: Use a vegetable peeler to peel off the thin layer of brown skin.

Step seven: Grate on a grater or in a food processor--- ( use the processor- you've earned a break by now.)

And, that's pretty much it. It was actually much easier than I expected...not that I want to do this everyday or anything. One coconut yeilds a sandwich baggy full of freshly grated coconut. I only needed 1/2 cup so I froze the rest. In the end, the N'Sync tunage seemed much more appropriate for the task at just tried to seem tough.


Michael said...

That picture of you with the power drill is one of the more epic photos in the history of the internet.


Thanks for the tips. I might try this myself now!

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Calogero said...

Very nice photos, thanks.

Joel Cross said...

A tip for you: only one of the three 'eyes' is real. If you try jabbing all three of them with a screwdriver, you'll more than likely find that one of them yields quite easily.