We all know that natural coconut water is healthy and refreshing. In a hot country like Thailand, coconut water can really help to get you through a hot day. While fresh young coconut is great, roasted coconut water has a unique taste and is delicious to consume. Previously, we have talked about fresh young coconut in more details. In this article, we will be talking about roasted coconut water, how it is different from fresh young coconut and how to roast young coconuts.
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Roasted coconut water vs fresh, young coconut water
The key difference between roasted coconut and fresh coconut is the smell and the taste of their coconut water. Fresh young coconut water is typically refreshing, has mild sweetness (with a very very slight hint of sourness) and contains the typical coconut fragrance. By roasting a coconut to produce roasted coconut water, you will get a stronger flavor with deeper sweetness. Furthermore, depending on the way you roast coconut, the fragrance of roasted coconut water can be significantly richer.
Having said all these, if you want to enjoy 100% of the nutrients a coconut can provide, fresh, unprocessed coconuts are still the best.
Other things you need to know about roasted coconuts
While roasted coconut water is sweeter and richer, roasted coconut meat is also different from fresh young coconut. Once fresh young coconuts undergo a roasting process, young coconut meat will become “detached” from the hard coconut shells. With this, you can even use your hand to pull out all of the coconut meat without any spoon! Based on our experience, the coconut meat of roasted coconuts becomes slightly harder as well, but since they are made from young coconuts, the meat is typically still soft and enjoyable.
How to choose young coconut for roasting? In the previous article, we talked about different stages of the coconut ripening process. The best young coconuts for roasting (in our opinion), are the older young coconuts as their coconut water has the right amount of sweetness.
How to prepare roasted coconut water
Traditional way of roasting
Let’s start with the traditional method used by Thai coconut farmers!
For those of you who do not know, dried coconut leaves and husks easily catch fire, this makes coconut farms the perfect place for roasting coconuts. Thai coconut farmers would traditionally gather dried coconut leaves and husks which are usually lying around. Coconut leaves naturally fall down once they are dried out, and coconut husks of old coconuts are usually left behind after coconuts get peeled and shipped out from the farm. Once the leaves and husks are piled up, farmers would throw whole young coconuts in and start the fire (this process is very easy to do with a lighter or a match). The fire would burn through the green skin and white layer of young coconut. However, the hard shell will keep the coconut water and meat well-protected (and clean as well!)
Depending on the amount of leaves and husks, you can either wait until the fire dies out or use a stick to roll roasted coconut out from the fire. Then you wait for them to cool down and use knife to clean out the remaining burnt parts around the hard coconut shell. This method will produce the most fragrance roasted coconut water, almost adding a slight smokiness to the taste.
The traditional whole coconut roasting method will leave you with charcoal-like end products, however both coconut water and meat are still well protected!
After some cooling and cleaning, you will see that the hard coconut shells are still perfectly intact – now your roasted coconuts are ready to be consumed!
Easier way of roasting
The traditional method however, will produce a lot of smoke so it is not viable for most people. A common modern method is to boil fully peeled coconut using water and expose boiled coconuts to a fire source (could be an electric/gas fueled device). While this method also enriches roasted coconut water taste, it does not give the same level of fragrance or smokiness as the traditional method.
Should you drink fresh young coconut or roasted coconut?
We love fresh young coconut water, and would not mind having it every day. It is a great, healthy and refreshing drink to quench thirst especially in the hot, tropical weather.
Despite our love for fresh coconuts, roasted coconut water can bring some variation to the table. Its sweet and fragrance taste is nice and the meat can easily be consumed as well.
Actually we just love coconut in general! This also includes coconut ice-cream, dessert, pudding etc., and you should try them all (including all other Thai fruits!). We have also covered other coconuty topics like Thai coconut ice-cream and Thai coconut cake!
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