They’ve been part of our takeaway orders for generations. We explore the history of Chinese/Australian takeaway classics, including the dim sim, lemon chicken and sweet & sour pork.
Summertime means many different things to many different people. But if you’re heading to the tropics you’re going to see coconuts. Whether it’s a fun drink with an umbrella served in the husk or the meat served as a snack or in the local cuisine, they’re pretty much inescapable. And let’s be honest, beaches and coconuts are a pretty fantastic combination.
We at Asian Inspirations would argue however that coconuts are fantastic no matter what the setting. They’re tasty, they look pretty cool and they’re full of delicious coconut water. And even though it may have lost its fad-status, coconut water is still pretty expensive to buy in bottle form. We have a theory as to why coconuts aren’t an every-week item for Australians in summer – they’re a pain to get into.
Consider this a summer public service announcement – coconuts are actually not that hard to open. And to prove that fact, we’re going to walk you through how it’s done. We’ve provided a couple of options so you can find the method that works best for you!
The poke and bake method
First, locate the 3 “eyes” on the coconut and, using a screwdriver, test which one is the softest. Then pierce the eye and empty the coconut into a bowl to extract all the water.
Once the coconut is empty, heat an oven to 200°C and place it in a baking dish for 20 minutes, or until the hard-outer shell begins to crack. Remove the coconut and set aside until cool enough to handle.
Wrap the coconut in a kitchen towel and, holding the coconut with one hand, tap it with the back of a cleaver or chef’s knife or hit it with a hammer in the same place several times. Pry the coconut open.
Separate the coconut meat from the shell with a spoon. Remove the brown skin with a vegetable peeler, if desired, then shred, grate, or chop the meat!
The wrap and whack method
After you’ve drained the coconut, place a folded kitchen towel around one side of the coconut. Use your non-dominant hand to hold it so the part of the coconut not covered with the towel is in front of you.
Holding the coconut with the towel, use a mallet – if you don’t have a mallet a hammer will do – and firmly tap it. Turn the coconut as you go so you can tap against the entire exterior of until it begins to crack in half.
When the coconut has cracked around the entire exterior, use your fingers to split it in two. Set the coconut down on the table or countertop with the cut side facing down.
With the coconut halves facing down, use the mallet or hammer to tap against each piece. That will help loosen the meat from the shell so you can separate the two more easily. Then pry the flesh loose with a butter knife.
You can use a vegetable peeler to take the brown husk off the meat as well.
And there’s two foolproof ways to open a coconut! Now you’ve got no excuse to enjoy them during the summer.