What do you do with fresh coconut meat?

by (10170) Updated July 01, 2013 at 12:07 AM Created January 06, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Simple question. I like the coconut meat just raw, right after I hammered the shell, but can you do something else with it? Maybe making it a bit softer and less dry to chew on (the kids don't like it raw)?

Thank you!

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27 Replies

290 · March 23, 2011 at 4:27 AM

My exhusband's sister and mother taught me how to make it Malaysian style:- In Borneo in East Malaysia they use a metal scraper shaped like a flat spoon with ^^^ shaped teeth. The implement is hammered into to a wooden block from the handle that has a claw like end. The cook places this onto a small sitting stool and using their body weight to keep it firmly in place ie one foot on the stool and you crouch or you sit one thigh on to it and balance. The coconut is then evenly scraped into a bowl being careful not to include the brown shell. You just work around it in quick downward but slightly rounded strokes towards the bowl. The scrapings pile up. This is yummy in itself but this is only stage one. Stage 2 you add water (I don't remember if my mother in law used hot or cold sorry) but then you squeeze the shredded matter hard in your fists to exclude the water and that first squeeze is coconut cream. The dry lumps are placed in a second bowl and then a fresh batch of water is added. This is stage 3 and is called coconut milk as it is more diluted. My mother in law fed the dry lumps to the chickens but it looked pretty yummy even though her old hands had been all over it. If she laid it out on one of her woven bamboo trays in the sun (provided the monkeys/chickens etc didn't tamper with it), I am confident that it would have made lovely dried shredded coconut. I was so fascinated with this seemingly mundane household object the sister went to the market in Kota Kinnabalu and bought me one which I still have.

The other day I was in our local Indian spice goods shop and was amazed to see an Indian version invented obviously to do the same job only it was constructed completely differently. The one they used attached to the bench just like mums old fashioned hand turned carrot grater. The sharp end was similar to the one I described above having a ^^^ edge but in this case the thing was 4 sided and looked like a lemon juicer.

Now I love my food processor dearly and would be reluctant to give it up over daily usage of either of these two methods but I must say that there is something extremely satisfying and empowering to have the knowledge of how to get around a coconut without the use of power and plastic. The other important point here is I think the tool is actually bruising the pulp rather than cutting it. That may be the difference between a blade slicing and a scraper crushing. Ask yourself do some recipes call for crushed garlic or chopped? Hmm. That being said, in a pinch if I needed to, I suppose I could substitute any of these man made implements for a sturdy but evenly ribbed sea shell that fit comfortably into the palm of my hand.

I live in Australia and used to work as a cook in a tourist kiosk in a national park on the waterways near the ocean. I have seen with my own eyes shells in the rubbish middens all along the edges of the river and inside the caves. One shell I saw had even been sanded down to make a round fish hook. I have no doubt that this is the sort of tool that could have been used for this purpose. The only sad part is I am not an anthropologist to say for sure what I saw was for the purpose I supposed it could be for. The original Aboriginal people who lived in the area I worked in had been totally wiped out 200 years earlier and the only evidence today is the middens and the engravings on the rocks.

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3023 · January 06, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Coconut mint chutney!

Fresh coconut, fresh mint leaves, fresh coriander, garlic, fresh ginger, hot pepper, lemon coconut milk or cream.

Blend it all up. Yum!

603 · January 06, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Stick it in te oven for a while.. Then shred it on a cheese grater, then toast the shreddings in the oven. Now you've got shredded toasted coconut.. Can use in salads and lots of other things

1091 · January 06, 2011 at 3:37 PM

I usually shred it and add it to curry dishes, use it as a "crust" for baked shrimp, or cut it into thin strips and heat it in a skillet (over low heat) to make coconut toast. I use coconut toast as a dipper for coconut chutney. Yum!

524 · July 26, 2012 at 3:33 AM

Tear it into pieces, rub it in a coconut aminos, and throw it in a dehydrator or the oven as low as it will go. It becomes coconut jerky, and it's amazing! The white coconuts have to be used for this - especially the ones with thicker meat.

1401 · March 25, 2012 at 4:29 AM

Grate the coconut meat and dry it in the oven at the lowest temperature setting if you dont have a dehydrator. After put it in a food processor/good blender and you have coconut butter that you would otherwise pay $10-$15 dollars a jar for.

603 · January 06, 2011 at 5:16 PM

@Cara, I've made my own coconut milk by putting the coconut meat in a blender with some coconut water... blend it all up and its really good. Some people need to add a sweetener, but it tastes fine as is for me.

248 · January 06, 2011 at 4:14 PM

I might be way off here, but can't you put the coconut meat in water, let it sit and you'll have coconut milk? Similar to how one would make almond milk? I often see Coconut Meat in Syrup at ethnic grocery stores, but that's not Paleo. You could always blend it into smoothie or add to a Paleo pancake?


6140 · January 06, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I stick in in the microwave for somewhere between a minute and two and it gets much nuttier and almost tastes like popcorn

164 · July 26, 2012 at 4:35 PM

you're all crazy and complicated. get the coconut open, drink up, use a piece of the shell to scoop out the meat. eat and enjoy.

ALSO, if your kids think its too tough/hard, you may be getting older coconuts. Growing up in Hawaii, my grampa had a term for the young coconuts - "Spoon meat", because the meat in young coconuts is soft and sweet, like a firm jelly. Try to find some young coconuts, not the hard, older brown ones.

320 · July 26, 2012 at 1:38 AM

I make smoothies. Pour the coconut water and the flesh/meat of coconut into blender and add a couple ice cubes. I like a touch of coconut nectar sometimes (not all the time) and raw cocoa nibs (a tablespoon seems about right).

16858 · July 26, 2012 at 1:17 AM

A few months ago, one of the local supermarket had young coconut - the kind you stick a straw in. After drinking the water, I cracked it open which was very hard because the outside hadn't dried, but the inside was very soft and very tasty. I scraped it off with a spoon and ate it all.

I think this is why some brands of coconut milk are so smooth - they're probably collecting from young coconuts instead of the older ones with the brown wooden like cover. The mature ones have meat that resembles nuts, hard and almost crunchy. The green ones are more like a pudding.

3841 · July 26, 2012 at 12:41 AM

This weekend, we added shredded fresh coconut to grated sweet potato and onions and made hash (fried in coconut oil). It was insanely good.

10 · July 25, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Shred the meat and marinade in chicken broth with chicken and other veggies. Then pan sear it a cooking wine.

366 · March 11, 2012 at 6:46 PM

Eat the meat man! yum yuum nom nom! One of my favorite treats!

10 · March 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Put it onto desserts. Shred it, toast it (optional) and put it on ice cream, and VOILA! Done.

9796 · November 26, 2011 at 9:05 PM

I rarely have this any more, but it's great in a green smoothie- baby spinach, banana, pineapple, the coconut meat & the coconut water is a good combo.

10 · November 26, 2011 at 6:45 PM

you can soak it in the juice that is in the coconut so that it stays soft when you peel the skin of the meat of it. Then you can do whatevr else you want with it

3854 · January 07, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Cut into thin strips and dehydrate them. Shred them and they are Excellent as a topping for several kinds of desserts, including puddings.

0 · July 01, 2013 at 12:07 AM

Take the mature coconut, shell it and dice it up. Soak it in a quart of cold water for about an hour giving a couple of stirs every so often. Drain off the water and chill it. Give it a taste...maybe add a little sugar or artificial sweetener if that's your thing. Tasty and refreshing coconut water. Do not throw away the diced coconut...this process can be done a couple more times, just give it an extra hour of soaking time and a few more stirs.Afterward you can puree the meat with a little water and refrigerate or freeze the puree to use in all sorts of baking...Cookies, cakes, frosting, stir-fry, rice, you name it.

0 · April 12, 2013 at 2:52 PM

no, once th coconut matures, cooking will not soften it.

BUT you can put the mature meat in the blender and blend til a sort of smooth spread. keep turning off the blender and pushing it down in til all is incorporated and smooth, not grainy.

Keep this in the fridge since it isn't dried. you can eat this with a spoon, use it in smoothies, spread it on bread, or use it to make gravy or thicken soups etc. It is delicious and not hard anymore. but use it within about 2-4 weeks I'd estimate since it is not dried it won't keep like if you made a spread from the dried coconut.

0 · March 01, 2013 at 11:56 PM

boiling it does not seem to work... i am to trying to find a way to soften coconut meat chunks i want to cut it and eat it, yes tasty but kinda hard tryed to boil with no luck... no one seems to know how to soften coconut im guessing its not possible.....

0 · January 16, 2013 at 12:47 AM

In a blinder put the coconut meat and water with a lemon juice and some ice cubes.. and enjoy :-)

0 · November 22, 2012 at 5:00 AM

Is there ANY way to make the meat of a coconut SOFT though? Instead of shredding it, dehydrating it, or emulsifying it in a blender - is there such a way to make it at least tender if not soft? I'm thinking about just experimenting since I can't seem to find an answer anywhere on the internet. Maybe boiling it, or slow cooking it, or something... I LOVE fresh coconut, I HATE how hard it is, and even when questions are asked about what ELSE to do with them, it seems the only answers tend to be "shred it" or "dry it" (which I don't like at all) :) Oh, and I have NO idea where to find those "young" coconuts that have naturally tender meat.. I've checked specialty stores...(I don't live in a very cultural town) :)

0 · September 05, 2012 at 8:53 PM

I lived in Jamaica for a bit and had hundreds of coconuts on our land so coconuts were part of our diet. There's 2 different stages to a coconut. The young coconut is called a jelly. If you want a refreshing drink that's the one to use, it's full of water. After drinking it then you can crack it open and that's where the jelly is. You can just scope it with a spoon. It's really delicious and is a nice dessert. There isn't much of an inner shell to it, it hasn't developed well yet. The other stage of a coconut is what most people know of and that's the mature coconut. You have to chop the outer shell off then the brown shell and you have the hard coconut meat inside. It also has water inside but not as much as the jelly. When you buy a coconut make sure you shake to see if it has any liquid inside. If it doesn't, it's no good and also make sure there's no wet spots at the end. Coconut milk is made from the mature coconut. You have to grate it with a fine grater (it takes awhile) and then put the coconut in some cheesecloth and pour water over that and squeeze it. You'll have coconut milk. If you don't want to throw out the gratings afterward you can add sugar to it and eat it like that. I would sometimes put it in with my dogs food (I would cook their food for them). Enjoy!

541 · July 26, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Coat fish, shrimp and chicken with it as you would bread crumbs and bake.

-2 · June 06, 2013 at 12:12 PM

I made a pineapple cake with a fresh coconut frosting... Just put coconut flesh in food processor with some sweetener of choice and a bit of liquid (preferably the coconut water) I used icing sugar which helped to thicken it slightly, but perhaps you could try coconut flour or whatever. It makes a really delicious cake topping, especially for pineapple or even carrot.

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