What is desiccated Coconut?
Desiccated coconut is made by taking the soft flesh of the coconut, shredding and then drying it. It’s the perfect way to bring the fresh sweetness of coconut to a dish without adding the excess moisture of coconut milk or having to deal with the hassle of opening a fresh coconut.
What does desiccated Coconut taste like?
Coconut! When it’s dried, coconut retains the same mildly nutty flavour and pleasant sweetness as the fresh stuff.
What is coconut used for?
Coconut is the source of a number of different ingredients with a wide variety of culinary uses. The hard brown coconut contains both coconut water, which is drunk as a beverage across the tropics, and coconut meat, the white soft flesh of the fruit. The coconut meat can then be shredded which releases the coconut milk, the pulp is mixed with warm water and squeezed to extract the fatty, sweet coconut milk. To make desiccated coconut the shredded meat is dehydrated.
Coconut is an extremely important ingredient in Sri Lanka and other tropical countries where it forms the basis of a number of dishes. Coconut milk is used as the base for curries across Asia from India to Thailand. The sweetness and fat helps to mediate the pungent spices present in many curries and allows for the flavours to meld together into a complete experience. Coconut milk is also used to make the Sri Lankan delicacy Appam, also known as hoppers, a type of coconut pancake make with fermented rice batter. Hoppers are a common breakfast and can be eaten in a multitude of ways.
The sweet flavour of coconut makes it an excellent flavouring for desserts and other sweet treats, some of Britain's favourite biscuits like the Macaroon and Nice biscuits are flavoured with desiccated coconut. Coconut milk has been used as a dairy replacement in dairy free ice cream and dessert.
Here’s some recipes using coconut to get your creative juices flowing.
Names and Origins
Coconuts come from the Coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, a tropical tree which now grows widespread across tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It’s name comes from the Portuguese word coco meaning “head”, coconut literally means “head nut”, named after the three pores which give it a face like appearance. Technically the coconut is not a nut, but a drupe like peaches or plums.
The trees originated in the Indo Pacific islands, early Indigenous peoples contributed to the distribution of coconuts by carrying them between islands. Coconuts became a culturally important part of many of the Austronesian populations around the Indian Ocean, they developed coconut scrapers as a tool to extract the meat from the nut. These scrapers were mounted low on a bench and allow a user to scrape the inside flesh from the nut using a serrated disk. These coconut scrapers are considered part of the cultural heritage of the Austronesian people's who developed them.
The fresh aroma of coconut has made it a common scent in many perfumes or air fresheners. Coconut palms have been used as a source of lumber while the leaves are sturdy enough to weave into baskets. Carved or painted coconuts have long been sold as souvenirs to tourists.