Coconut, common name for the fruit of a
coconut palm tree that probably originated somewhere in
Indo-Malaya but is now widely distributed in tropical regions.
The mature coconut, about 30 cm (about 12 in) long, is oval
shaped and has a thick, fibrous outer husk and a hard inner
shell. The lining, or kernel, of the inner shell is a white,
oily meat. Within the kernel is a
sweet-tasting, milky fluid.
The meat of coconuts is an indispensable ingredient in Southeast
Asian cooking, Indonesians claim that coconuts have as many uses
as there are days in a year, in fact this is where coconut milk
comes from and not from the liquid that is contained in the nut.
It is made by soaking the grated flesh of a coconut in hot water
or scalded milk, then straining the combination. This produces
thick coconut milk, when processed a second time thin coconut
milk is produced. Coconut cream develops after the product
settles leaving the cream floating to the top.