When it comes to cooking, apart from the main ingredient like the vegetables or the meat, the additions of spices and other seasonings is considered highly important as they add more flavour and taste to the overall dish. The coconut is one such component that adds more freshness, thickness and texture to any dish. The perfumed rich fat in coconut enriches all types of foods be it a coconut layer cake or shrimp crusted with coconut.
However, retrieving the fresh meat of coconut by breaking its hard outer shell is difficult and time taking and hence more often, ready to use, dry, pre-shredded, sweetened and flaked type of coconut available in the plastic bags is used. But for those who know the refreshing taste and texture of fresh coconut, this is just a compromise as it certainly affects the taste and flavour of the dish.
So, how can you get fresh coconut meat without wasting much of your time?
Can You Break It In the Oven?
Oh! Certainly, you can break the coconut in the oven. Actually, many chefs advise, placing the coconut inside the oven and cracking it with the help of the heat. It certainly works and opens the shell, but during the process, the meat inside the coconut warms up making it too spongy and soft. So, this way you do get the coconut meat, but the purpose of getting raw coconut is defeated. However, it is a good idea if you are just using it to make a paste for adding it to a curry. Even then, nothing can beat the taste of the fresh raw coconut.
Breaking the Coconut Manually
First thing, you need for trying this activity is lots of energy. So, bring out all the anger and aggression you have inside to fulfil this positive coconut breaking activity.
Tools you will require:
- Flathead screwdriver
- An old towel
Take out the Water First
When you are breaking a wet coconut, you should take out the water first as it is not only incredibly delicious, it is also highly nutritious and much better option than sipping it from the glass or plastic bottle with added preservatives. Here is a step-by-step guide as to how you can do this:
- First, prepare a thick nest with the towel by folding it.
- Place the coconut on the top of the fold in such a way that the three eyes of the coconut are facing up and towards you.
- Now pick up the screwdriver and place its tip on one of the eye and with the hammer tap on the screwdriver so that it makes a bigger hole in the eye.
- Repeat the same with the other two holes.
- Hold the coconut horizontally over the bowl so that the water inside the coconut is drained and collected properly.
- You can put a strainer while draining on the bowl or strain it later on.
- Drink this sweet coconut water immediately or you can store it in refrigerator for cooking or moistening desserts such as the cake.
Finally, it is Time to Break the Coconut!
After the water has drained out completely it is time for the final assault on the coconut. For this:
- Unfold the wrapped towel and spread it.
- Put the coconut on it and wrap it from all sides grabbing the four corners of the towel so that a sling is created for the coconut.
- Just as you chop the wood using an axe, similarly, make a backward action with the towel and smash it on a hard surface.
- Remember, you need to have a hard surface to break this one so keep the option ready beforehand (a backyard patio or sidewalk is just perfect).
- Unfold the towel and you will find the coconut broken and scattered into pieces.
- Take out the coconut meat by prying the edges of the shell slowly with the screwdriver.
- This way, the meat will come out easily.
- You can use the kitchen peeler to scoop out the brown part of the coconut meat.
Now, you have the fresh, raw, coconut meat that you can either wrap and store in the refrigerator for later use or shred it in the processor for immediate use. Refrigerated coconut remains fresh for almost a week, whereas if you have broken lots of coconut and want to store it for a couple of months, you should directly put it into the freezer.