Thursday, June 11, 2009


Coconut. According to Cândido Figueiredo (via Wikipedia), the word comes from Portuguese coco, the myth of a scary witch. They say El Coco used to hide under the beds of naughty children and EAT THEM if they didn't eat their vegetables!!! Reminds me of the Far Side comic..."you kids better be quiet or I'll knock three times and summon the floating head of death!" (a balloon that dad controls from the downstairs window, with a wicked face drawn on it).

Needless to say, Vasco De Gama was stoked when he and the crew set foot in India because his son Vasquihno never ate his couve (collard greens)!

"I am coming for to getche you, Vasquinho!"

The seed of the Cocos nucifera plant, is what we eat. Specifically, the albuminous endosperm, is our beloved coconut "meat." In addition to being delicious, coconuts are rich in lauric acid, which has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, as well an immune system booster. High fiber, high fat, good amount of minerals. If you did happen to find yourself on a deserted island....

When I was young, I remember hating coconut (I guess I never had a macaroon from the Buttery!), but now I love it young, mature, the water, the oil, I love it all.

Soooooo, in our final stretch of last days, graduations and grading, Lissa says, "Let's eat a big salad tonight, with prawns or something." Enter coconut.

Coconut prawns with Thai-inspired dipping sauce, and a refreshing 'Asian' salad. Yes.

The prawns were simple. Peel, devein, and cut deep along the ridge, then toss them in an egg bath, coat with grated coconut and toss in a (medium heat) non-stick pan with a couple tablespoons of coconut oil. É fácil. Oh wait, this is supposed to be a Thai-ish thing. Um, hold on...quick trip to yields... Ngaay ngaay! Easy!

Are you serious? Yes Siam!
Here is what I used for the dipping sauce:
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup pineapple coconut juice (or substitute other juice, or wine, or...)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger pepper jelly (or substitute brown sugar)
Once the prawns had nicely browned all over, I put them on a plate to stay warm in the oven. Then I swiped out any burnt coconut bits, turned the heat up to high, and toasted the ginger. Toss as it cooks for minute or so, then pour in the rest of the goods. Stir to dissolve, lower the heat to med/med-low, and reduce.

Served with a bright salad consisting of mixed greens and edible flowers from Happy Boy Farms, mung bean sprouts, carrots and green onions (both sliced diagonally-a common and subtle technique in Asian cooking). For the dressing I dissolved a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar in a tablespoon or so of brown rice vinegar, and whisked in two teaspoons of sesame oil (or substitute safflower or canola oil). Toss, serve and enjoy.

Khaawp khoon khrap, coconut.

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