tender coconut

How to open up a green (tender) coconut

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I had clicked these pictures a couple of years ago. After procrastinating for quite some time, I’ve finally posted them. Green or tender coconuts as they are known make for a very refreshing drink -particularly in the summers. They are known to have a cooling effect on the body and are full of electrolytes. Wikipedia says that the water in an undamaged coconut is sterile and has even been used in developing countries and during WWII in emergencies as IV fluid. Back home in Udupi, we often give tender coconut water to sick people. Some varieties such as the more expensive yellow Gendali bonda is said to be more beneficial for sick people.

Whenever mum used to send me to buy tender coconut -especially when someone was sick, she would ask

A Gendali bonda is more expensive and is the preferred bonda for sick or recuperating people
The bright orangish-yellow Gendali bonda is more expensive than a normal green bonda and is the preferred bonda for sick or recuperating people

me to get a latth‘ i.e. unripe (In Tulu) bonda (tender coconut in Tulu). An unripe tender coconut will have the maximum amount of water and minimum amount of coconut meat or cream, sometimes none. However when drinking it as a drink or as a refresher, it is good to have a little meat on the inside which can then be scooped out and eaten after drinking the water. The thinner meat is tastier. In Hindi, it is often called malai which is also the word for milk cream. However for sick people, the orangish-yellow Gendali bonda is preferred. It is considerably more expensive, not as widely available as the green bonda and not very tasty either.

Coconut water is said to contain a high level of potassium, antioxidants and cytokinins. It also contains ascorbic acid and magnesium. However too much coconut water is said to act as a laxative.

How to get at a tender coconut (bonda):

Watch out as the liquid that comes out of the coconut (even from the fibres of the raw coconut) can stain clothes permanently.

WARNING: It is quite easy to get badly injured as you need to use a sharp sickle or knife with quite some force; the coconut being rounded and heavy doesn’t help the matter very much.

Beg, borrow, buy or steal a tender coconut
You need a tender coconut first 🙂
This guy is doing it in his hand. It is safer to lay it say on the edge of a table and do this -particularly if you have a straight knife. The guy is using a multipurpose sickle called the Katti in Tulu
This guy is opening up this coconut holding it in his hand. It is safer to lay it say on the edge of a table and do this -particularly if you have a straight knife. The knife he is using is using a multipurpose sickle called the Katti in the Tulu language

 

Get rid of the stalk first
Get rid of the stalk first
Now make angular cuts to pare off the immature husk of the coconut. If it is very tender, you can get away with a straight cut but might hurt yourself without practice
Now make angular cuts to pare off the immature husk of the coconut. If it is very tender, you can get away with a straight cut but might hurt yourself without practice

 

This is how it will look when it is done. A coconut which has started to mature might have already started to have formed a shell which might need to be lopped off.
This is how it should look when it is done. A coconut which has started to mature might have already started to have formed a shell which might need to be lopped off.
If you want the coconut to stand on its bottom, you will need to flatten the botton by slicing off some off the material from below the coconut
If you want the coconut to stand on its bottom, you will need to flatten the botton by slicing off some off the material from the bottom of the green coconut

 

All you need to do now is to cut out a hole with a sharp instrument
All you need to do now is to cut out a hole with a sharp or blunt instrument. In case the coconut is more mature, then you will encounter a conical area of shell which will then be needed to carefully lop off to access the water

You can either drink from it using a straw or invert the bonda over a glass. When using a straw, try to drink with the straw pressed against the bottom. If the flow stops abruptly, then there is malai or coconut cream inside the coconut. This will let you know whether you need to waste your energy splitting the bonda open. If you are not using a straw, hook your index finger in the hole and gently press the inside surface. If it is soft, then there is coconut cream inside. If the coconut has matured too much, you should be able to clearly see the white coconut inside instead of the transparent coconut cream.

Slice off a wedge from the side of the coconut to make a scoop for the tender coconut cream.
Slice off a wedge from the side of the coconut to make a scoop for the tender coconut cream.

 

A couple of smart blows to the center will split it open and you can scoop out the cream and eat it.
A couple of smart blows to the center will split it open and you can scoop out the cream and eat it.

 

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CREDITS: | Manorama Soans | Prabhavati Kunder |  Sunayana Walters |

 

 

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