11 articles Articles posted in fruit

Coconut Sashimi


I never realized how similar coconut flesh and raw fish were texturally until I tried coconut sashimi for the first time. A friend first introduced me to this when we lived in Grenada (and she first learned about it from watching Korean dramas!), where coconuts are available and abundant year-round. We’d bring empty bottles to the market downtown with us and get them filled up with fresh coconut water. After the coconuts were emptied, we’d ask the coconut man to chop up the coconuts for us and take them home to scoop out the sweet, succulent flesh (or we’d eat them right there with makeshift spoons chopped off from the sides of the coconuts).


The texture of the meat can vary depending on the age of the coconut. Younger coconuts will often have more juice and less meat. The meat it does have is more of a “jelly” that just barely clings to the shell. Slightly older coconuts will have a bit less juice, but firmer, thicker meat. These meatier coconuts are perfect for making coconut sashimi.

In the US, you can usually find fresh coconuts at any Asian market. They don’t normally have the outer skin anymore and usually resemble little cones that have been put through a giant pencil sharpener. It’s a little harder to tell how old exactly the coconuts are, but they will do just fine for making sashimi. I eat coconut sashimi exactly as I would eat regular sashimi — with a good quality soy sauce and wasabi. This might be a great vegan substitute for sashimi for any of your health-conscious friends or for satisfying a sushi craving for those who might be pregnant. I haven’t tried it other ways yet, but I’m excited to see how it might taste as nigiri or ceviche (maybe with some avocado!).

Pan-Fried Tamarind Chicken Thighs

Aside from making juice with all that newly prepared tamarind paste, try it on a savory dish! The tart, fruity flavor pairs particularly well with chicken and pork. I whipped up this recipe for dinner one night, and it took me less than half an hour (minus the marinating time).

Tamarind Chicken Thighs
6 servings

1/2 c. tamarind paste
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 c. white wine or cooking wine
2 tsp. salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
2 Tbsp. oil

1. Combine first five ingredients together to make the marinade.

2. Next, cut slits in the underside of the chicken thigh on either side of the bone. This helps the marinade soak in and also helps the chicken cook more evenly.

3. Pour marinade over chicken and let rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight.

4. When ready to cook, remove chicken from the marinade. Reserve marinade for sauce.

4. Heat up oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.

5. Place chicken thighs in pan and cook for 8-10 minutes per side. Check to make sure the chicken is done by poking with a knife or fork. Juices should run clear.

6. Place cooked chicken on paper towels to soak up excess oil.

7. Pour the reserved marinade into the pan and bring to a boil. Make sure to scrape up any browned bits for full flavor.

8. Serve over chicken and rice.

Tamarind Paste + Juice

I’ve been trying to incorporate more local Grenadian ingredients in my cooking, so I was thrilled to discover tamarind trees on one of my visits to the beach. I happened to be walking through a grove of trees when I saw piles of brown, roundish pods littering the sand below. Upon closer inspection, I realized the pods were actually tamarind pods and confirmed this by cracking open their dry, brittle pods to find the sticky, flesh-covered seeds of the tamarind inside.

The fruit of the tamarind is edible, but can be quite tart, so it’s usually cooked or added as flavoring to dishes. In Grenada, they like to mix the flesh with sugar to make tamarind candies, but you’ll also find it used to make juice and to flavor stews.

The tamarind tree can also be found in Southeast Asia, so you’ll see it in a lot of southeast Asian dishes, like pad thai or Vietnamese canh chua (sour soup). Today, I’ll be showing you how to extract the pulp from the tamarind pods to make tamarind paste and a deliciously refreshing tamarind juice!

The flesh of the tamarind tastes best (and is the sweetest) when the pod is fully ripe. You can determine if the pod is ripe if the shell is dry and brittle to the touch. It should crack easily in your fingers. Simply crack the pod in half and pull out the seeds and flesh.

I didn’t collect nearly as many tamarind pods as I needed to make a lot of paste, so I went ahead and purchased about a pound of fresh tamarind from the market in St. George’s. The tamarind here has been de-shelled, but still contains all the seeds. You can also find dried tamarind paste, as well as whole tamarind pods (sometimes in boxes, sometimes loose), at Asian grocery stores in the States.

To remove the seeds, add about 2 cups of water to your fresh tamarind paste. (If working with dried tamarind paste from the grocery store, use hot water instead.)

Mix it around to fully incorporate the water. It should start becoming a thick, gooey mixture. Let it sit in the water for about 15 minutes.

Using gloves, grab a handful of the mixture (seeds, pulp, water, and all), and in a separate bowl, slowly squeeze to separate the paste from the seeds.

The seeds will still have a bit of pulp left on them, so I throw them into another bowl filled with water to continue soaking. This water can later be added to your juice.

Continue the squeezing process until all the seeds have been extracted and you’re left with a whole bowl of pure tamarind paste.

Strain the seeds from the water and reserve the water to add to juice. Discard seeds.

At this point, the tamarind paste can be refrigerated and added to different recipes. It should last in the fridge for a few weeks, or can be frozen for several months. Freeze in an ice cube tray to help portion the paste*! You can then defrost as much as you need for recipes like pad thai and canh chua. Or you can use the tamarind paste right away to make tamarind juice.

Tamarind Juice
10 servings

1 cup tamarind paste
6 cups hot water
1/2 cup sugar (or honey)

1. Dissolve the sugar (or honey) in the hot water.

2. Stir in the tamarind paste.

3. Serve over ice. Add more sugar as needed. Enjoy!

*Update – You can also make tamarind chicken with all that leftover tamarind paste.

Food Matchmaking: Lavender Loves Peach

This might be one of my favorite lavender pairings ever. :) There’s a bakery in Arizona called The Wildflower Bread Company that makes the most delicious Georgia Peach smoothie with peaches, lavender, honey, and whipped cream. From the moment I took my first sip of that smoothie to this day, I have yet to find another smoothie pairing that delights my tastebuds the way this one did! I’m sad The Wildflower Bread Co. can’t be found in too many parts of the country, but whenever I visit AZ, you’ll be sure to find me getting my smoothie fix there. :) If you’re looking to find ways to taste this pairing at home, try this lavender peach tart!

Photos from here and here.