Blackened young coconut

Blackened young coconut

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

Here I’m trying to make sense of a memory in a culinary context and convey a sense of texture and visual effect. You will need young, soft-fleshed coconuts of the kind we had in Malaysia when I was growing up.


Quantity Ingredient
2 young coconuts with soft flesh, (with green husks)
20g raw cashew nuts
250ml peanut oil
50 fresh curry leaves
2 teaspoons salt
60ml burnt ginger and garlic oil, (see note)
a selection yellow, green, red and orange t omatoes
1 buffalo mozzarella, torn


  1. Blacken the coconuts:
  2. Put the coconuts on the hot embers of a fire or barbecue, turning them over to thoroughly blacken the husks. Remove from the heat, cool enough to handle and then break away the blackened husk. Break open the top of each coconut, being careful not to spill any of the water. Pour out the water through a sieve and reserve. Scrape out the flesh in large chunks. If green husked coconuts can’t be found, grill young coconuts on the highest heat to blacken the husks, but watch out for them catching fire.
  3. Make the curry leaf salt:
  4. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Spread the cashews on a tray and toast them in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden and refreshed. When cool, finely grate them with a microplane. Heat the peanut oil to 180°C. Put the curry leaves in a sieve set over a bowl and pour the hot oil over them. Repeat until the leaves are dark green, translucent and crispy. Drain them thoroughly on paper towels and cool before proceeding. Rub the curry leaves through a fine sieve into a bowl and add the salt. Rub the grated cashew nuts through the sieve and into the bowl. Toss the contents to combine. Store in an airtight container away from sunlight (because exposure to sunlight will cause the green powder to turn a dull colour).
  5. Make the dressing:
  6. Combine the burnt ginger and garlic oil with 1 tablespoon of the reserved coconut water.
  7. Assemble the dish:
  8. Cut the tomatoes into interesting pieces. Arrange the tomatoes, mozzarella and coconut meat on a serving plate, spoon some dressing over and sprinkle generous amounts of curry leaf salt over the arrangement.

To make burnt ginger and garlic oil

  • Deep-fry 5 thick slices of ginger and 2 smashed garlic cloves in 200 ml of olive oil over medium heat until the oil smells toasty and fragrant. Pass the oil through a sieve and discard the aromats.
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