In India, almost every auspicious occasion is celebrated with coconut. Also called “Sirphal” which means “God’s fruit”, it is believed to be a symbol of prosperity. This reverence for the coconut stems from its incredible nutritional value and life-sustaining properties. Its tough outer shell shields it from germs and the kernel is a rich source of fats and minerals. The peeling and cutting of coconut is a hard task but once opened, it gives us a powerhouse of taste and health. After offering a small part of the coconut flesh, the remaining part can be put into wondrous culinary uses.
Also Read:Open Coconuts At Home Easily With This Kitchen Hack
Nutritionally speaking, 100 grams of fresh coconut provides 444 Kcal of energy, packs 41 grams of fat and delivers 240 grams of phosphorus, as revealed by Nutritionist Rupali Datta. But beyond its nutritional value, the coconut is a superfood with numerous health benefits. That’s why the leftover coconut from festive puja should never go to waste.
Also Read: Ever Heard Of Coconut ‘Embryo’? Viral YouTube Video May Surprise You
Here Are 5 Healthy Benefits Of Coconut You Should Know About:
1. Weight Loss Wonder:
A study published in the Ceylon Medical Journal in June 2006 revealed that MCT fats from coconut are used immediately by the body and not stored as fat. Coconuts have high satiety levels, which prevents us from binge eating later.
2. Fat Check:
It’s true that coconut is rich in saturated fats but it also has a unique quality that is worth noting. It boosts HDL cholesterol levels more effectively than other saturated fats. Hence, it is good to consume coconut but keep its portion in check.
3. Energy Booster:
The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) suggests that saturated fats from coconut oil, ghee, and butter are easily digested. During fasting, the quick energy flow from fats and minerals present in coconut can keep you going.
4. Ayurvedic Wisdom:
According to Ayurvedic literature, coconut serves as a natural stress reliever. Cooking coconut with traditional Indian spices can help maintain smooth digestion and even improve metabolism.
5. Source Of Wellness
The fats present in coconut oil are believed to possess antimicrobial properties, which support your overall health and well-being.
Now that we’ve explored the remarkable benefits of coconut, let’s explore how you can make the most of leftover fresh coconut from festive puja by incorporating it into your everyday cooking.
What Can You Do With Leftover Fresh Coconut:
1. Coconut Chutney:
A classic and beloved South Indian accompaniment, coconut chutney is a breeze to prepare. Grind fresh coconut with spices and other ingredients for a refreshing side dish that pairs perfectly with dosa, idli, or any South Indian delicacy. Click here for the recipe for Coconut Chutney.
2. Coconut Rice:
Transform plain rice into a flavorful delight by adding grated coconut, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and roasted cashews. This coconut-infused rice dish is a delightful alternative to regular steamed rice. Click here for the recipe for Coconut Rice.
3. Coconut Milk:
Extract coconut milk by blending fresh coconut with water and straining the mixture. Use it to enhance curries, soups, and desserts, or even as a dairy-free milk alternative in your morning cereal. Click here to learn the process of making coconut milk with fresh coconut.
4. Coconut-Based Desserts
Celebrate your love for coconut with sweet and decadent Indian mithais and desserts. Ladoo, barfi, kheer or modak, there is a world of sweetness filled with coconut waiting for you. Click here to find the recipes.
5. Coconut Curry:
Coconut plays a starring role in numerous Indian and Southeast Asian curries. Simmer coconut milk, fresh coconut, and a medley of spices to create a rich and creamy base for your favourite vegetables, meat, or seafood.
6. Coconut in Baking:
Get creative in the kitchen by incorporating grated coconut into your baking recipes. Coconut muffins, cakes, and cookies offer a delightful twist on classic treats.
7. Garnish To Create Stellar Dishes
Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes or grated coconut on top of salads, desserts, or even savoury dishes to add texture and a burst of tropical flavour.
The next time you break a coconut in a festive puja, remember that its goodness can continue to nourish you long after the celebrations have ended.