Coconut, Dessicated

Dessicated coconut is an essential pantry ingredient, used in both sweet and savoury preparations. It is used extensively in Indian, Sri Lankan and Southeast Asian recipes, where it works as both a thickening and tempering agent in curries (often alongside coconut milk) and at the same time gives its unique sweet and nutty flavour to the dish. It is just as ubiquitous in Western kitchens where it is used more often for sweets and cakes, both as an ingredient and a decorative feature. Toasting dessicated coconut completely changes its colour and flavour (changing from white to nut brown, with of course a ‘toastier’ taste), but it is still used in the same ways. To toast dessicated coconut, simply heat it in a dry frying pan, keeping it moving until it takes on that wonderful golden brown colour, being careful not to burn the coconut.

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