Coconut is one of the wonderful produces we have in the Philippines. Only recently have I consciously appreciated it as I learned that it’s not readily available in other countries.
Coconut can be consumed in many ways and is an essential ingredient in making dishes more delish, especially Bicol dishes, which are my recent fascination. I particularly love drinking its juice first thing in the morning and munching its meat. Well, one munches if the meat is relatively hard. But if it’s on the soft side, it slides in effortlessly. I rather prefer the former for its nutty feel.
If you have leftovers or you simply wish to add a bit of twist, here’s another fantastic way—the Not -Your-Typical Coconut (NYT Coco) Smoothie—to enjoy the coconut juice and meat. I don’t usually measure the ingredients when I make smoothies, but to serve as a guide, I have here rough estimates. Please feel free to change them according to your liking.
1 1/2 cup coconut juice, frozen
1 cup coconut meat, frozen
1/3 cup almonds, soaked for 30 minutes (may include the water used for soaking; note, the more liquid, the thinner is the consistency)
8 dates, pitted
freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
1/2 Tbsp ground green cardamon (or cardamom)
Toss all the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth.
While I’ve been wondering whether a coconut is a fruit or a vegetable, others are considering a third category, a nut because of its name. Coconut is none of the above as it’s actually a seed. Botanically speaking, it’s a fibrous one-seeded drupe, which means a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed. Loosely, coconut can be a fruit, a nut, and a seed (The Library of Congress).
The coconut juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism. Although high in saturated fat, its meat is rich with enzymes that are essential for better health and is an excellent source of manganese (this particularly), copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins (Nutrition-and-You and Self Nutrition Data).
An ingredient that probably stands out for Filipinos like me is cardamon (also known as cardamom). It originates from Southern India and is at present also grown in Sri Lanka. It is aromatic with a lemony undertone. It is rather pricey but a small amount goes a long way, so use it sparingly. In India, it is considered as a “festive spice,” and is often added in sweets and drinks.
Back in the old times, Egyptians chew cardamom seeds as a tooth cleaner while the Greeks and Romans use it as a perfume. Arabs, on the other hand, attach aphrodisiac qualities to it and features it regularly in Arabian nights. Ancient Indians use it as an antidote to obesity and to date has been regarded as a digestive (The Epicentre).
Cardamon is available at Assad Mini-Mart, which is located at Unit 1-A Eurocrest Building, 126 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, Makati City. Wondering where exactly along Jupiter, it is a few meters away from Jupiter St. corner Makati Avenue, across the back facade of the Department of Trade and Industry. Telephone number is 897-2543.
(1) Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html
(2) Nutrition-and-You http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut.html and Self Nutrition Data http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3106/2
(3) The Epicentre http://theepicentre.com/spice/cardamom/
The recipe draws inspiration from a drink mixture that was taught in Pio Baquiran’s Ayurvedic Cooking Class.