Sunday, January 18, 2009
Fresh coconuts can be intimidating for some people if they don't know how to open it. It looks nothing like any other fruits or vegetables; dried root-looking webs surrounding a hard shell that looks almost impossible to open. And when you look on the bottom, there are three small marks - resembling a bowling ball. So bizarre...
And then there is young coconut which is white and has sharp, pencil-looking like top. I never knew why they looked so different until I bought both of them and figured it out on my own.
The brown coconut is apparently what's inside the young coconut except that it's no longer young. When I cracked both of them open, it seemed that some of the juice from young coconut has been absorbed into the flesh, which made aged coconut flesh thicker and firmer. It was almost like those coconut flakes you can buy in a bag with just slightly more moisture. In contrast, the flesh from young coconut was so smooth, tender and very palatable.
It was great by itself though I didn't want to end this story with just another great fruit. To keep the flesh as fresh as possible yet extending shelf life, I thought that ice cream was a perfect idea.
In this recipe, 90% of ingredients come from coconut and it's absolutely heavenly if you love coconut.
Ingredients (makes approx. 5-6 cups or 10-12 servings):
1 (13.5oz) can Coconut Cream
1 (13.5oz) can Coconut Milk*
1/2 c. Sugar
Dash of Kosher salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
1 Young Coconut Flesh
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large pot. Heat over medium-low and whisk constantly for 20-30 minutes. (Try to keep it simmer, if it starts to boil, the heat is too strong.) The mixture will look like melted ice cream.
Cool the pot immediately by submerging into ice bath. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 3-4 hours. Meanwhile, scoop out the flesh from young coconut and chop into small pieces. Keep them in the fridge also.
If you have an ice cream maker, follow the direction accordingly. Add chopped coconut to the ice cream machine just before you are ready to remove the ice cream from the machine to freeze.
If you don't have an ice cream machine, you can use the ice bath method. Transfer the mixture into narrow container so that it minimizes the open surface area. Submerge the container into a large bowl of ice bath (adding salt can help keeping the water cold). Add chopped coconut and stir very slowly every 5 minutes for 15-20 minutes. The mixture should get slightly thick. Transfer the container into the freezer. Every 15 minutes, take it out, gently mix and put it back - work as quickly as possible. Repeat this 2-3 times. Then extend the interval to every 30 minutes and continue for another 3-4 times. Freeze it overnight and it's ready to eat.
*Check the ingredients and use the one with only coconut milk. Some coconut milk contains water, which is not suitable for this recipe.