Eaten Thengai Poo or Coconut Flower? Know It's Health Benefits

The coconut tree, also referred to as Kalpa Vriksha in Sanskrit, offers various benefits as every part of it serves a purpose in our lives. But have you ever heard of the health benefits of coconut sprouts? Coconut sprouts, also known as Kobbari Puvvu in Telugu, Thengai Poo in Tamil, and Fopra in Bengali, are sometimes referred to as coconut flower or nariyal ka phool. Coconut sprouts, coconut pearls, coconut embryos, or coconut apples, are characterised by their spongy texture and delightful sweet taste. Coconut fruits that have reached maturity and come in various sizes contain these. Recently, Deepa, a Cultural anthropologist took to her Instagram and shared about the coconut sprout, Thengai poo. Let's explore the unique qualities of this food. 

She explains in her post, “Do you know the thengai-poo? The “flower” which isn’t a flower really, more like a coconut sprouting, an internal self-making with the water and flesh of a mature coconut becoming this round spongy yellow-coated thing that tastes at once of coconut, coconut oil and a dream of the unknown. If you’ve ever found one while breaking a coconut for cooking or offering at a temple, you’ve found luck—or so it’s believed. 

The coconut itself is a thing of tremendous and vastly varied symbolism, we all know. It’s the ego—that hard shell, so hard to break, is the reason we throw and crack it in self-offering. But that very hard shell is equally a sign of resolute, unswayed character. The coconut’s untouched and pure waters are Ganga-jal. Its white concave flesh is purity, perfection. Its three eyes are our two and Siva’s third—or the transcendent turiya, that state beyond waking, dreaming, and sleeping, that knowledge of “Self in its single existence, in whom all phenomena dissolve.” It is man and it is atman, it is atman in man, and it is a dissolution of the notion of atman and man. Sri Ramakrishna spoke often of the limitations of the mind in knowing things beyond itself: “Once a salt doll went to measure the depth of the ocean. No sooner did it enter the water than it melted. Now, who would tell how deep the ocean was?” Likewise, the coconut is a sign of extents and limits.  

It’s a crazy thing that we use the word “coconut” to berate those we see as cultural sell-outs [you know, brown on the outside, white on the inside] but that, too, stands to show how much we tend to think of the coconut as alter ego, representation of self. That’s the connective thread, if there is one. 

And the “flower”? Well, it looks flower-like I guess though I’ve always thought of it as thengai-panju, coconut sponge, on account of its texture. This is a push-cart vendor #snack in the best of our #hawkerfood traditions of selling healthy local treats where all else would sell packaged chips. But who thinks of such things when one is 8 and Appa is buying you thengai panju? You just gobble it and run away to dissolve in the sea.”  

Coconut sprouts are indeed a nutritious addition to your diet. They contain a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can contribute to your overall well-being and help strengthen your immune system. Dietary fibre is an essential component found in them, which plays a crucial role in supporting digestion and maintaining a well-functioning gut. Furthermore, it is important to note that coconut sprouts are a great source of healthy fats, which are beneficial for promoting heart health and providing a sustainable source of energy. These foods have low-calorie content and can be incorporated into diets focused on weight management. Coconut sprouts are a great choice to enhance the nutritional value of your meals and drinks due to their distinct flavour and texture.