Friday, June 25, 2010

Substitutes for fresh coconuts/ coconut milk

Manglorean cooking is very heavy in its use of coconuts. This can be a problem for Mangloreans who are posted abroad in countries that do not have regular supply of coconuts or where coconuts are very expensive, as was the case for me in Egypt and my friend May who is currently in Germany

Dessicated coconut however is more easily available in foreign countries and also easier to carry along on trips from back home.

These are a few substitutes that I have found have worked for me while cooking.

If you need coconut oil, use regular oil for phon/baghar/chaunk/tempering and once it is warm, add a tsp of dessicated coconut to the warm oil, then continue with rest of the phon.

If your recipe calls for coconut milk:
1. packaged coconut milk - Dabur, Thai Chef is first choice. (I have found that the Thai brands are in general better than other brands available in the market for coconut milk. There are some good Sri Lankan brands too)
2. Coconut milk powder dissolved in water is next - Maggi/Nestle is the best I have used so far.
3. Third option is combine regular milk and a bit of dessicated coconut .
Depending on where you are using it in the recipe, either boil the milk and dessicated coconut together and cool before using.
If it is to be added to a curry to make rosachi kadi, you can add the dessicated coconut and the regular milk at the same time.

If you need fresh coconut for foogath (vegetables with fresh coconut), soak half the required volume (of freshly grated coconut) of dessicated coconut in a few teaspoons of regular milk for at least an hour, then use like fresh coconut.

These substitutes work wuite well in most dishes where the coconut is not the starring taste. But for a recipe like Batega, where the taste and consistency of fresh coconut is essential, it may not work as well.

I haven't tried to substitute coconut is such recipes, if you do, please let me know how it goes.

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