8 Dishes That Taste The Best When Cooked In Coconut Oil
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Coconut oil is one of the fundamental pillars of South Indian cuisine. It is hard to imagine so many South Indian dishes without using coconut oil in the process of cooking. It adds a scintillating aroma to the food and also gives it a very nice texture. Although many people consider coconut oil to be not the healthiest cooking oil that one can use, it has remained an important part of South Indian cuisine despite the constant culinary evolution.

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 Another reason behind the popularity of coconut oil in the Southern part of India is the abundant coconut cultivation in that part of the country. Coconut oil is more accessible and affordable for people, and hence, it has been used to cook food for centuries. Here are some of the top dishes that are incomplete without being cooked in coconut oil,

* Avial

Avial is a traditional South Indian dish that is made from a mixture of a variety of vegetables like drumsticks, carrots and cucumber. All of these vegetables are simmered in some sauce made with a mixture of shredded coconut and yoghurt. The purpose of coconut oil in this dish is to add a lot of richness and depth to the food. One can instantly feel the absence of coconut oil in the dish, and it is truly incomplete without coconut oil. 

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* Malabar Chicken

Malabar chicken, as the name suggests, hails from the Malabar area of Kerala. It is a popular chicken recipe that has gained significance in different parts of the country. Malabar chicken is made by using a lot of different spices, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Coconut oil gives a very rich aroma and luscious texture to the chicken. This chicken can be enjoyed with some white rice or even a parotta.

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* Kerala Chicken Curry

Kerala chicken curry is a coastal extravaganza that is a flavourful synthesis of some coconut oil, spices, and chicken. A lot of tamarind is also added to this recipe to give it a dynamic flavour. Coconut oil is the primary source of moisture in the recipe and gives a very soft outer coat to the chicken, making it easy to chew. The Kerala chicken curry doesn't taste as good without using coconut oil. 

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* Vegetable Stew

Many people think that South Indian cuisine heavily relies on meat-based dishes. However, there are a lot of vegetarian and vegan recipes in South Indian cuisine that are generously balanced and nutritious. The Kerala-style vegetable stew is prepared by using beans, onions, carrots, potatoes, coconut oil, and coconut milk. It is a lightly seasoned soup or stew that can be enjoyed with some bread or Appam.

* Paniyaram

Paniyaran are fluffy and soft dumplings that are made from fermented rice and lentils. The fermented rice and lentils are soaked in the water for a day or two, and then a very thick batter is prepared from it. The traditional way of making them is by greasing the paniyaram moulds and putting the batter to make this delicious snack. It is often paired with some coconut chutney or peanut chutney.

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* Potato Thoran

Potato Thoran is a famous sabzi from Kerala that is prepared using boiled potatoes cooked in mustard seeds, curry leaves, grated coconut, and some spices. Coconut oil is the only vegetable oil or greasing agent that is used to prepare this dish. It is a very lightly seasoned dish that tastes simply delicious. 

* Prawn Moilee

Prawn Moilee is another delicious dish that is prepared in Kerala. It features the amalgamation of different flavours and textures all in a single dish. The main source of flavour in this dish is the coconut milk curry that gives the prawn an appetising taste. The job of coconut oil is to intensify the flavour of the coconut curry and the little bit of spices that are used to season the prawns. 

* Poriyal

Poriyal is a vegetable stir fry from South India that is cooked using finely chopped vegetables like carrots, beans, and cabbage. These vegetables are sautéed properly in coconut oil until they become soft and edible. A little bit of spices and curry patta are added to the dish to give it a lot of freshness. Coconut oil helps in enhancing the natural flavour of the vegetables used. It also acts as a catalyst in combining the flavours of different types of spices as well as vegetables beautifully.