When I was a child you only saw brown hairy coconuts at Halloween, so when I moved to Brixton I was thrilled to find you can buy them throughout the year. They are also fresher than the ones I remember, and contain a good amount of refreshing water inside which means the flesh is moist and tender. Once shelled, they can be grated for a variety of recipes. This is a light and refreshing salad, perfect in the summer or with spicy food. The coconut flesh freezes well if you want to reduce the quantities. I also use fresh coconut in my peanut and coconut cookies.
Pick out a coconut that feels heavy when you shake it. Look for the three eyes at the bottom of the nut. Using a screwdriver, poke each one until one gives. Drain the water out and drink it to refresh you.
Place the coconut on the floor or a sturdy surface and tap with a hammer around the middle, rolling the coconut over so you can tap the whole way round. It will crack open more easily than you might expect. Give each half a hard tap with the hammer and the flesh will come away from the shell.
Grate the flesh on the largest holes of a box grater – you don’t need to remove the thin brown outer skin. De-seed the cucumbers and dice them. Finely dice the onion and mix it all together. Stir in the black mustard seeds.
When you are ready to eat, dress the salad with the chilli, lime juice and coriander. Serve with grilled fish or the jerk chicken.
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