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Go nuts with coconuts this summer to beat the heat

Consuming this thirst-quenching, healthy yet inexpensive ingredient this season doesn’t have to be plain and boring. Instead, elevate your coconut in main course, desserts, mocktails and cocktails, as food experts suggest.

Go nuts with coconuts this summer to beat the heat


It’s not the weather offices, but the coconut sellers that mark the start of summer by reclaiming the streets of the city. On a hot day, nothing can come close to quenching thirst better than a freshly shaved coconut.  But, this time around you don’t have to stick to simple coconut water and the usage of its white flesh for chutneys and curries. Instead gourmet up your coconut to use in main course dishes, desserts, mocktails and cocktails — from coconut water payasam panna cottas, to macaroons and puddings, and even using the husk to make activated charcoal powder for use in many dishes and cocktails. We bring to you some exquisite recipes that celebrate every part of a humble coconut — from its shell to its nourishing water and flesh.
City-based home chef Reema Jain suggests making a coconut punch that packs in the goodness of coconut water, coconut milk as well as chopped tender flesh to stay hydrated. “With everyone preferring chilled drinks during summer, addition of coconut milk and coconut water in the drinks makes them very enriching. Coconut can also be used in making panna cottas and to add a nutty crunch to the ice creams,” says Reema, who runs Reema Swad Cooking Classes in the city.
Coconut Punch

Coconut water: 200 ml
Coconut milk: 2 tbsp
Vanilla ice cream: 1 scoop
Sugar powder: 1 scooop
Chopped tender coconut 
flesh: 1 cup
  • Mix the vanilla ice cream to soft. 
  • Add all the ingredients together and mix it. 
  • Serve chilled in the emptied coconut shell and get health benefits of your tender coconut
Amp up your summer cocktails
For an evening gathering with friends and family, look at adding coconut cream or coconut milk for rich and creamy cocktails. And for those days when you want to mix up your chai and a cocktail, here’s a fitting recipe.
Coconut and chai spice martini

White rum: 30 ml
Coconut cream: 100 ml
Coconut milk: 100 ml
Condensed milk: 100 ml
Tea spice powder: 2-3 tbsp 
  • Combine all ingredients in a blender. 
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of tea spice powder and cinnamon stick (optional).
Proof’s in the pudding 
If you’re tired out by payasam, remember, you can always turn it into a panna cotta. While elaneer payasam is commonly done in all households, take it up a notch for a special summer evening gathering by turning it into a pudding or a panna cotta. All that is needed is a little gelatin added to the payasam and molded. City’s eateries are also going big on their usage of coconut in macaroons, puddings, ice creams and kulfis.
Coconut and its dark matter
Did you know a humble coconut can also be the source for activated charcoal? As one of the most globally trending ingredients in 2019, activated charcoal powder is extracted from charred coconut shells. Instead of throwing away the coconut shells, make use of the activated charcoal powder extracted from it, which can be used in food, drinks and desserts, says Abhiram Gona, the executive chef at Radisson Blu GRT Hotel in the city. While this detoxing substance is available in stores, it can also be made at home by simply charring the coconut shells over flame and pounding them in a mixer. Then using a muslin cloth to strain the powder gives food-grade activated charcoal.  Now, use this black gold in your mini idlis (as shown in the picture above), dumplings, cocktails and much more.
Dark side shandy

Activated charcoal: ½ capsule or 1 tsp
Lemon: 2 nos
Water: 1 cup
Salt: a pinch
Sugar: 2 tsp
Beer: 1 can 
  • Thoroughly dissolve the activated charcoal in fresh lemonade made from lemon, salt, sugar and water. 
  • Add one can of light 
  • blonde beer to the lemonade and garnish with a slice of lemon. 

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