Coconut Milk, So Versatile
Marty Martindale

An early Indian proverb stated, “He who plants a coconut tree plants food and drink, vessels cocomilkand clothing, a heat source, shelter for himself and a heritage for his children.”

The coconut tree has been called the most useful tree in the world, because it is a primary source of food as well as shelter. Her trunk, fronds, frond stems, dried nut fibers, wrapper, heart, husk and shells to into making rope, soap, lotions,  wine, textiles, baskets, cups and bowls, medicines  and building materials. The fruit of the coconut tree is equally versatile.

These days, it seems, we find coconut most often as a “furry look,” atop coconut frosting on cake. Coconut now, thanks to the Thai culture,  teaches us to use a simple can of coconut milk and a little red or green curry paste becomes a simple, exciting curry sauce for meat and vegetables over rice.

Coconut is rich in vitamin C, potassium, iron and magnesium.


Coconut juice:  clear liquid in the center of the nut, also known as coconut water.

Coconut meat: Firm, sweet, nutty white flesh in the center of the coconut. (peel brown skin from coconut meat before using). Can be chopped or grated or purchased in plastic bags or cans, shredded, flaked, dried, moist or frozen, sweetened or unsweetened.

Coconut milk: Now available in cans, gluten-free, and ready to be used as an ingredient. DO NOT confuse this with store-bought sweetened “cream of coconut,” used mostly for
desserts and mixed drinks.


•Steam mussels in coconut milk

•Use in ice creams, sorbets, broths, soups and sauces.

•Combine Goya-brand Tembleque Mix with coconut milk to make a delicious coconut custard.

•Make bouillabaisse from little necks, mussels, scallops and shrimp in a spiced coconut broth.

•Prepare fresh vegetables simmered in a coconut curry.

•Use coconut milk for the liquid when you cook rice or pasta.

Foodsites with coconut recipes: