Coconut is a common ingredient used in savoury dishes like curries, soups and vegetables, but lends itself with equal ease to desserts like coconut ladoo, coconut custard, coconut macaroons, Alle Belle and more. Of course coconut is used in varied forms like coconut milk, desiccated coconut or coconut cream, depending upon the consistency of the dish and the desired texture. The popular form of using coconut in desserts and sweets is through the reduction of coconut milk into a thick syrup, which is then used in several different ways. A little goes a long way. Restaurants in Mumbai make use of the coconut in diverse forms for a host of dishes to suit every palate.
The popular spicy noodle soup Laksa, often favoured by many as a complete meal, makes use of coconut milk to temper the spices. The Laksa paste primarily made of lemon grass, chillies, shallots, galangal, turmeric, spices and dried shrimp, is blended with chicken stock, chicken, shrimp, tofu, vegetables. Coconut milk is then added to finish the soup to which rice noodles and bean sprouts are also added. The World Streatfood Delicatessen and Taproom at Nariman Point offers this comforting soup as part of its global food menu.
Who can resist a meal of Goan Fish Curry and Rice? This spicy curry from Goa with grated coconut blended with the masala is any gourmand’s dream come true. It is the coconut which adds depth of flavour to the curry here and imparts it a unique texture. Goa Portuguesa Restobar in Mahim, is a place worth heading to for a lip-smacking fiery Goan fish curry.
Tub Tim Krob or boiled water chestnut cooked in tapioca is a popular Thai dessert which most of us with a sweet tooth, relish. The red glistening ruby-like candied pearls floating in the coconut milk and syrup topped with ice shavings is not only a treat for the eyes but the palate too. Shizusan Shophouse and Bar, Lower Parel offers one of the most authentic ones with orange bitters added for a twist.
Coconut Panko Banana is a delectable dessert available at Mamagoto Fort. Panko and coconut coated ripe banana slices served with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream is an amalgamation of myriad textures and is delightful for the taste buds. Desiccated coconut is skilfully combined with panko crumbs in this dessert.
Chunks of tender coconut give a nice bite in desserts. Elaneer Payasam is a must have at any celebration in Kerala. Pieces of tender coconut are combined with condensed milk and coconut milk, topped with pistachios and served chilled. Not extremely commonplace in Mumbai, Banana Leaf in Andheri West, has an accurate version on offer.
Food critic, features writer and columnist, Mini Ribeiro is a qualified Journalist, from IIMC New Delhi. She specialises in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality space. As an established food & beverage writer, Mini currently contributes to several leading English publications across the country – Asian Age, Hindustan Times, Sunday Financial Express, Hotelier India, Go Getter and Vistara inflight magazines and Rediff.com. She also has her own You Tube channel called Mini’s Food Fundas. Fond of cooking, Mini enjoys experimenting in the kitchen with various cuisines, with Indian regional food, being her favourite. She has recently started, a platform for home talent, called 'Flavours from Home', an initiative which aims to make women who are passionate about cooking, entrepreneurs.