Coconut – the ideal addition to almost any r...

Coconut – the ideal addition to almost any recipe

This tropical food offers itself up to a wide array of possibilities – from flour to vinegar, the coconut has infiltrated every aspect of the world of desserts, being available in almost every possible form.

Many products are derived from the flesh of the coconut and tend to have a mild flavour. Despite the coconut being used in so many sugar drenched, after-dinner meals, products made from its sap, such as sugar, nectar and vinegar, have a myriad of health benefits to ease the toll that comes with a bowl of coconut ice-cream.

Coconut sugar is beloved for its lower glycaemic index, meaning it’s easier on the glucose levels in your blood. On top of health-friendly benefits, the caramel-brown sugar has an earthy undertone that can be a substitute for any granulated sugar.

Flour can be made from the flesh of coconuts. It’s dried and ground into a dense powder. Unfortunately, it can’t replace any flour but it does have its benefits. Coconut flour is not only gluten-free but it’s also rich in protein and high in fibre.

Coconut butter can be made at home, simply by mixing coconut flakes in a Vitamix until it’s thick and creamy. From there the butter can be spread on toast, added to smoothies or just taken straight from the jar.

Coconut nectar is a sweet, viscous liquid made from the sap of a coconut palm tree. While it doesn’t have a coconut flavour, it’s a perfect healthy sweetener to be used as a syrup, especially in cocktails.

Coconut isn’t all sweet though; if the sap is fermented then coconut can be made into a vinegar. Milder than apple cider, this vinegar has a familiar taste with all the nutrients that come with coconuts. The vinegar is recommended for a healthy salad dressing substitute.

A perfect example of a coconut heavy dish is coconut chicken curry with turmeric and lemongrass. But getting this light, crispy curry right is harder than it seems.