One of the questions I have been asked often is how I scrape the coconut here in England. I never really thought about this when I lived in Malaysia as most shops/market have a large electric coconut scraper and the shop owner will crack the coconut and then scrape it for you. Alternatively, you can also find the freshly scraped coconut in the refrigerator section all per-packed.
Since moving to the UK, I’ve had to try to find a way to do this on my own. Luckily my husband loves eating Rendang, so he will help me scrape the coconut as I tend to make kerisik which is one of the ingredients for rendang from scratch. Having fresh coconut also means that I am able to make some of my children’s favourite recipes such as Kuih Kelapa (Sweet Coconut Fritters), Coconut Jelly or Nasi Lemak.
The first thing is to purchase the fresh coconut from the Asian shops or Grocery Store. When getting my coconuts, I tend to give the coconuts a shake and listen for the water splashing around so I know that it is fresh and not an old coconut. There are many ways to crack a coconut, I’ve found that using the BACK of a heavy cleaver is the best way to get a nice even crack. When doing this, please take extra care especially if it is the first time you are doing this as cleavers can be dangerous. Make sure to also do this over a sink so that the water does not spill on the floor then you crack the coconut. Keep turning the coconut around as you gently hit the back of the heavy cleaver on the coconut and eventually a line appears and it will crack open.
I hope to one day purchase an electric coconut scraper and bring it over to the UK, but in the mean time I will use this manual Coconut Scraper (Vacuum Based) which I have purchased from Amazon. You need to place this on a flat surface (it has a suction component) so that the base sticks to the surface and does not move. Then gently rotate the handle with one hand and place the cracked coconut where the blade is.
It does take a little bit or “elbow grease” but so worth it. Remember to discard the coconut water before you start. Also only scrape the white flesh of the coconut and stop when it reaches the brown area. Please do this with care as the blades are sharp and keep this away from children’s reach. I have used this particular scraper for the last 8 years and it still works perfectly.
The grated coconut can be stored in the refrigerator for two days in an air tight container or frozen in the freezer for months. I love the smell of freshly grated coconut and every time I have some, it only inspires me to make some delicious Malaysian savoury and sweet dishes.
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