Ingredient Name: Coconut
Traditional Chinese Name: 椰子 (yē zi)
Nature: The coconut water is cooling, while the coconut flesh is neutral to slightly warming
Targets: Heart, Spleen, Stomach, Kidney, Large Intestine
The coconut is an amazing and versatile fruit when it comes to using them in Chinese soups!
The coconut meat is slightly warming and sweet. It targets the heart, spleen, stomach, and lungs, while nourishing the blood and tonifying your qi and yin. It helps strengthen muscles, supports digestion and heart health, and can help regulate blood pressure.
Coconuts are an amazing source of fiber (although can be difficult to digest if you eat too much!) and has a good amount of good fats! Coconut flesh adds a rich, buttery taste to the soup and the coconut water is sweet and helps boost those overall flavours in the soup!
And I know, when you see a coconut at the supermarket, you’re like… UH… NICE, but… how?
LOL, that’s totally how I started this coconut battle adventure, but the story ends well. You can literally crack this story.
Here’s how you can prepare and use coconut in your Chinese soups! You’ll just need to be sure you can hammer the coconut in a safe place without destroying your countertop or kitchen floor! I ended up doing it outside on my balcony or garage. I’ll rinse the coconut afterwards anyways to be sure I remove all the dirt, dust, and whatever else I’ve picked up off the floor!
What are coconuts?
A fruit! Did you know coconuts are fruits? My kids showed me the coconut song… that’s basically what sealed my understanding of what a coconut is.
There are various types of coconuts you can find in the supermarkets, but the ones with the sweetest coconut water and flesh are the little round brown ones that literally look like a brown baseball (slightly bigger). They have a bit of a hairy exterior in dark brown and white flesh on the inside and are usually a thicker and denser flesh than the coconuts you find in Thailand on the sides of the streets where they chop it for you to drink.
How do you prepare them?
- Drain the coconut of the coconut water first and reserve to be used in your soup later on. You’ll notice that there are 3 holes (in the brown coconuts I speak of) where the spots are soft and connected to the coconut tree. You can simply use a straw and poke that, or use a chopstick and hammer.
- Using a hammer, really give that coconut a few good knockings. You’ll want it completely cracked apart.
- Once you’re able to access the meat, remove the flesh from the outer shell. There is sometimes an outer brown skin, which is safe to consume. If the flesh is hard to remove, I’ll use a knife to skim it off of the shell.
- You can keep the flesh in any bite-sized pieces if you plan to eat them.
- Rinse under cool water and set aside for your soup later.
Where can I buy it and cost?
- The prices of the coconuts don’t vary too much depending on variety, especially if they are sold whole and fresh at the supermarket.
- In Canada, I was able to find these brown coconuts for $3.99 CAD each (not on sale) at time of posting
- Any Asian supermarkets will carry these coconuts in the vegetable and fridge sections. They are usually sold chilled and marketed as a beverage! They even come with straws!! LOL.
- Coconut meat is slightly warming and sweet.
- It targets the heart, spleen, stomach, and lungs, while nourishing the blood and tonifying your qi and yin.
- It helps strengthen muscles, supports digestion and heart health, and can help regulate blood pressure.
Coconut water is cooling, but goes well still with the warming herbs and chicken in the broth such as a Coconut and Chicken Chinese Herbal broth
- Take caution when you’re trying to crack open the coconut. It may take a few hard efforts 🙂
- Coconuts are rich in fiber and hard to digest if you consume too much, so consume in moderation
Looking to build your basic Chinese Soup Pantry?
Check it out in my video to learn more!