A few days ago I was in the grocery store and saw coconuts. I didn’t purchase one at the time but I kept thinking about it and so the next time I went, I bought one. Now, like the beans, I had no idea how to even open the coconut much less cook with it. But I bought it ($1.00 each), brought it home, put it on my cutting board and stared at it for awhile. I picked it up, checked it out, shook it, took my very sharp knife and attempted to cut into it but realized I’d probably lose a finger doing that.
So I went back to google. From what I read, it seemed like I was going to need some non-kitchen equipment to get this fruit open, so I found my ziplock bag that holds the tools I brought from the States. I started with a screwdriver but didn’t get very far. Then I pulled out my wine opener, thinking maybe I could twist my way into it – at least to get the water out of it. That actually got me into the coconut. From here, I dumped out the water into a pyrex.
The instructions I found then said to take a very sharp knife and cut along its equator and after a few turns, it would just break open. Yeah…no. That didn’t happen and again, I was concerned about keeping all of my fingers. Another option was to put the coconut into a plastic bag and hit it with a hammer against concrete. So I grabbed a hammer, a plastic bag and went outside. The top flew off but I don’t think that was the “equator”. From here though I was able to take a knife and scoop out the meat. Although there wasn’t much of it. Admittedly, I got a small coconut. I’m smart enough to know that starting small is a lot better than getting the biggest one and really losing a finger or two.
I took a sip of the water – it was delicious. So much different than the “boxes” of “fresh coconut water” that you can buy in the stores in the States (sorry friends, that’s not fresh coconut). Of course, I had no idea what to do with the meat. I tried to shred it using a grater but the pieces were too small and soft to grate. One of my cookbooks recommended mixing it with rice and lime so I went with that and made a black bean soup to accompany it.
Both turned out okay. Although I was so wishing I had brought my immersion blender for the soup. I also used a little too much lime in the rice so it was extra tangy. You see, I don’t actually follow recipes…I just read what the ingredients are and then do what I want with the measurements. As long as you accept whatever the results may be, experimenting can be fun, right? But overall, the mix of brown rice, lime and coconut was quite pleasing and aromatic.