Solkadhi To Kopra Pak: 7 Must-Try Coconut Dishes Of India
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Coconut is not just any normal fruit with only one part edible or even usable. Living in a tropical region of the world and in India especially means that you are well-accustomed to the fact that every part of the coconut fruit can be used in the culinary arts in one way or the other. Versatile enough to fit into both sweet and savoury applications, coconut is not that hard a nut to crack, especially with Indian cuisine. 

From its white flesh to the beautiful water and extracted fragrant oil, the uses of coconut in Indian cuisine–especially the coastal areas, are many. Unless you have a condition where eating the high-fibre coconut is not allowed, consuming dishes made with or garnished with coconuts is a truly delightful experience. And if you like to cook, there are certainly no limits.

To celebrate the nutty flavour and creamy texture of the coconut, here are eight must-try coconut dishes of India. 

1. Narkel Naru

Narkel is another term for coconut, prevalent in the state of West Bengal and Narkel Naru is a sweet dish of Bengal which is famous for its rich flavour and creamy texture. Prepared from grated coconut, sugar and flavoured with cardamom, Narkel Naru is a winter favourite too. There is also another version of this dish which is made with jaggery. The mixture of coconut and sugar is then moulded into small round balls.

2. Solkadhi

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Coconut drink, yes Solkadhi is a tangy and refreshing drink from the KOnkan region of Maharashtra and Goa.  This drink is prepared with two main ingredients firstly, extract of the  kokum fruit and secondly coconut milk. The drink is pink in colour due to the fruit extract. The drink is refreshing in its nature thus it is popularly paired with spicy Konkani or Goan dishes to balance out the palate.

3. Coconut Chitranna

Coconut Chitranna is a Karnataka-origin rice dish bursting with tropical flavors. Cooked rice is infused with a tantalizing blend of coconut, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and spices. The coconut adds a delightful creamy texture and a hint of sweetness, perfectly complementing the tangy tamarind. Often garnished with fried peanuts or cashews, Coconut Chitranna offers a symphony of tastes and textures that make it a beloved and comforting meal in the region.

4. Kerala Ishtu

One such delightful South Indian dish is Kerala Ishtu, a coconut-based stew with a distinctive fusion of flavours. It is also made up of some vegetables including potatoes among many others stewed carrots, and peas dipped into a scented coconut cream soup. Infused with spices like cinnamon, mild and tasty with coconut milk, ginger, garlic, chilies, pepper, curry leaves, and cloves. It compliments appam or idiyappam and hence is an integral part of Kerala cuisine.

5. Thengai Chutney

Thnagai Chutney or coconut chutney is a common South Indian side-dish originating in the state of Tamil Nadu. Made with grated coconut, green chilies, and spices, Thengai Chutney is also tempered with urad dal, dry red chillies, mustard seeds and curry leaves.Thengai chutney is an all-purpose dipping sauce that can be consumed with dishes such as dosa, idli, vada. It has a smooth texture as well as mild heat, making it a joy to include in southern Indian meals.

Video Credit: Youtube/ Hebbar's Kitchen

6. Kobbari Pachadi

Green chillies, grated coconut, and other aromatic spices are used to make the flavorful South Indian condiment known as Kobbari Pachadi. Originating in Andhra Pradesh, this condiment is traditionally mixed with a little tamarind and some jaggery for harmony. This results in a thick and hot coconut chutney mostly meant to go along with dosas, idlis and other South Indian dishes.

7. Kopra Pak

Originating in Gujarat, the state known for its love for all things sweet, Kopra Pak is a delicious barfi-like sweet treat made with coconut. Made from shredded coconut, sugar and butter reduced to a thick puddle, Kopra Pak is flavoured with cardamom and topped with almonds or pistachios adding a touch of sweetness and nuttiness all at once. It is commonly eaten in celebrations and ceremonies.

8. Chingri Malaikari

A common Bengali meal that features the softness of tender chingri or prawn and the smoothness of malaikari or the gravy made from coconut milk, Chingri Malaikari is enjoyed on most festive occasions and parties. The delicacy has different spices used together with coconuts and the prawn’s natural sweets. Seafood lovers can enjoy this dish while it is accompanied by the steamed rice henceforth becoming a pleasurable dish.