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A Coconut

cocnut raw

So I was down my local Morrison’s and my girlfriend saw this little guy and was all like “I totally bet you can’t open this“ and I was all like BET I CAN! and then she was all like “I totally bet you can’t make a decent curry though!” and I was all like BET I etc.

So we have two issues here food fans. First off, I really have no idea how to open a coconut without things like drills, machetes and heavy industrial tools. Secondly I am not sure what to make with my ‘nut but figure something like a beef rendang would be cool as that’s what I’ve been told to do by my GF who magically appears with all these ingredients:


Beef, 2 thingies star anise, 2 lemon grass stalks, 5 cherry tomatoes, 1 tspn cumin seeds, 5 cloves garlic, 1 inch cube fresh ginger, a lime, fish sauce, a small red onion, 3 chilies (seeds IN!), bamboo shoots, cinnamon stick. She also presents a tin of coconut milk just in case I don’t get my coconut open.

Which is possible.

You see, the interwebs were not very useful and were far too technical for my liking. But I read somewhere that you can stick it in an oven and the pressure will make the shell crack?

Great idea! Off you go wee guy! 

2014-08-30 18.20.54

Anyway, as my high pressure bomb coconut cooks I prepare the other ingredients…

First up, I fry the finely diced ginger, garlic, onion, cumin seeds, in a large pot:


After about 5 minutes softening I add the beef (it’s shoulder apparently) with the chili:


After the meat has browned on all sides I add a pint and a half water, the lemon grass, cinnamon, star anise:

before cooking

And cover this for around however long it takes for my coconut to crack or explode or whatever.

URGENT UPDATE: after 60 mins at 150 degrees C I can’t understand why the coconut is not ready and it appears I may have done something very silly. You see, the internet says while you can split a coconut in the oven, you should drain it first, which means I have put my GF and her flat mate in a potentially hostile kitchen situation. Cooking on the EDGE I say! Anyway, I’ve turned the oven off and quarantined the entire area. “Lucky we have that tin of coconut milk you knobjockey” says GF. Erm.

UPDATE 2: Ok, drama over. I went into the kitchen and opened the oven and the coconut had cracked already and appeared to be in a diffused state. RESULT!

With the kitchen neutralised I drain and collect the coconut water and add that to the curry:

2014-08-30 19.20.30

Then I extract the white meat (GF says that’s what they call it in Malaysia) and blend with a half pint water:2014-08-30 19.49.19

(FYI the coconut flesh is really nutty and earthy and only subtly coconutty; it’s very very nice, basically)

This is added to the curry along with some new potatoes and left for a further 20 mins:

2014-08-30 20.04.18

After which I add the bamboo shoots and taste (correcting the balance by adding lime juice, fish sauce, honey as required) and then serve:

2014-08-30 20.50.40

Annnnnnd howsittaste?

Better than any Thai or Malaysian or Indian curry I’ve had at any restaurant; I am never going to use tinned coconut again! This dish has such an unusual depth to it thanks to the fresh ingredients. Even the inconsequential decisions such as using cherry tomatoes instead of tomato paste has made a massive difference. I am very impressed and so is the GF who is now reduced to level pegging in our unofficial curry-off

FYI I ended cooking this thing for around three hours so the beef was extra super tender; if you repeat this, bear that in mind in case you start cooking at 8pm or something terribly middle class.

But what do you think food lovers? Have you tried smashing a coconut with a hammer or roasting it in an oven? You have? Great! Then why not tell me all about it on twitter?

Or even huffypost



I write dumb things about food

2 thoughts on “A Coconut

  1. A drill & a hammer will sort out the coconet.
    A pressure cooker is great for making rendang and any other “slow” cooked classics.

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