The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

May 18, 2011

The Many Uses Of Coconuts

I recently attended a South Indian wedding where the girl's family gifted each of these intricately etched coconuts to the family members of the guy's side (Yay to me). I liked it so much I thought I would share it with you too. They even attached these beaded pins at the bottom so it can be displayed on flat surfaces. I've seen fruit being carved into designs but I've never seen it on a coconut. Now that is a work of art I can appreciate.

Just look at the detail!
I believe that the coconut is a very versatile fruit. Its oil can be applied to the hair to make it more shiny and smooth. Usually the water inside the coconut is very sweet and so most often consumed and then the tender flesh is scooped out and eaten. As you can see in the photograph above, even the dried coconuts are used to make decorations or works of art. The oil and milk are also used in cooking. For our cooking purposes, we mainly use shredded coconut (fleshy part) and in various dishes such as Undrallu or Steamed lentil and rice dumplingsRice Kheer, and for today's discussion, coconut rice. Coconut Rice hails from the Southern part of India; specifically from Andhra Pradesh. This rice dish has a bit of everything; lentils, nuts, spices, and even vegetables. Now it's important to remember that too much of a good thing is never a good thing. When we post about rice dishes, we're not promoting that one should eat rice everyday but that it's good to try new things.


Ingredient List:
1 cup of Cooked Rice                                     
- 15-20 halves of Cashew nuts                                     
- (4-5) sliced Green chilies
- ½ cup of Fresh grated coconut                    
- 1 tsp each of Mustard /Cumin seeds                 
- 2 tbsp of Vegetable oil                                     
- ½ cup frozen of Carrot & peas                                   
- 5-6 leaves of Curry leaves                                       
- 1 tbsp of Coriander seeds                                               
- 2 Dry Red chilies                        
- 1 tsp of Urad dal (black gram)                  
- 1 tsp or as needed of Salt

1) In a small sauce pan, fry coriander seeds, red chilies and urad dal with an ½ tsp oil for 5 min or until the aroma of coriander seeds come out. Cool the mixture and grind to a powder and set the spice powder aside.
2) Heat oil in a skillet on medium and fry cashews until light golden, add mustard & cumin seeds. When they splatter, add curry leaves and green chilies. Fry for a minute. Add salt and rice, mix well for 2 minutes. Then add the spice powder (from step 1), grated coconut and carrots & peas. Mix again and cook under low to medium heat for 5 minutes.
3) Serve hot.

***Quick Tip: We use a lot of spices in our dishes to elevate the flavor of the dish. If you don't have a big spice rack or variety of spices, you can substitute whatever you like. Also, freshly grated coconut can be found in most Indian stores, otherwise you can grate it yourself.                                                       

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