The coconut tree is a member of the palm family (Arecaceae). This tree grows in the tropical climate and can grow up to 30 meters tall. The fruits of the tree can be eaten raw or desiccated for different uses. Coconut milk, oil and cream are side products that can be derived from this fruit. The biggest supplier of coconut products in the world is India. Coconut, in various forms, is widely used in Indian cuisine.
Desiccated coconut, which we mostly used in cakes, cookies or desserts is produced from ripen coconut fruits. After being harvested, the flesh of the fruit is separated, grated and dried until maximum 3% of its moisture is left. The production process is quite hard because the hard brown shell and the flesh of the fruit can only be separated through handwork.
It has a distinctive strong aroma, sweet flavor and a milky and oily texture.
It is a perfect ingredient for sprinkling over desserts and using in cookies, cakes, biscuits or chocolate. It blends very well with cakes prepared with fresh fruits and whipped cream. It is also one of the most important flavor agents in Indian curry dishes.
To identify the quality of coconut, you need to check its color. Pure white color indicates freshness whereas yellowish would mean it is not fresh at all. Besides, when it is fresh it smells very nice. Because of the rich oil content, its smell becomes heavy, as it gets stale. In order to keep your coconut fresh, preserve it in an airtight glass container away from light and heat. For a longer shelf life, you can also pack it in small plastic bags and keep them in the refrigerator.
You can add an exotic taste and a pleasant flavor to yoghurt, milk or fruit based drinks by adding a bit of desiccated coconut.
Coat your ball-shaped, homemade desserts or chocolate with desiccated coconut. This will bring a nice texture and a special flavor.
Coconut goes very well with cookies. When you prepare your regular butter cookie recipe, substitute 1/3 of the flour with desiccated coconut. In this way, you will not only use less flour than usual but also bring a unique taste to your cookies.