Coconut Key facts Coconut palms thrive on sandy soils, which is why they're so often a component of the tropical beach! They cannot grow in climates where the temperature drops below 12 or 13 degrees C; coconut milk is made by processing grated coconut with water or milk and extracting the oils from it.
The coconut you want depends on whether you need the milk or the flesh: a younger coconut contains more liquid, less solid. The way to test it is to give the coconut a shake. There is no particular picking season because coconut palms are common throughout the tropical world.

Dealing with a fresh coconut is nothing like as daunting as it looks, but because coconut is so important in Southern Indian and Thai recipes a number of convenient forms that keep well have been developed.

Coconut – creamed. This comes in block form and can be used to enrich curries and sauces. All you do here is grate it, then, using a whisk, blend it with boiling water to a creamy liquid.

Coconut - powder. A great storecupboard stand-by, this is particularly good in Thai fishcakes. If can be tricky to get hold of, but Maggi coconut milk powder is sold in some supermarkets and independent stores, it is also available online here
Related Recipes
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Sri Lankan Curry with Coconut Sambal

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Spiced Lamb Curry with Chickpeas, Green Coconut Sambal and Tomato-and-Red-Onion Pickle

Dry-roasting spices and grating fresh coconut means that this recipe is packed with freshness and flavour, making it ideal to serve to friends, especially as it can be made in advance then reheated.

Thai Creamed Coconut Chicken Serves 4

Thai Creamed Coconut Chicken

Using ready-cooked chicken speeds up this already easy dish, making it a real winner for weekday supper. Coconut milk can be heavy in calories, so dieters may like to know that you can now buy half-fat coconut milk instead.

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