Desiccated coconut - It’s dry, it’s delicious and it’s nutty

by Sanjeev Kapoor

One of my favourite cookies is coconut macaroons. I find them gorgeous and delectable and can enjoy them anytime anywhere. But alas, I have to curb my greed for them. Why? Because coconut, as we know, is high in fat and therefore not very good for health. And that too when they are made with desiccated coconut. But on the flip side, they are ever so easy to make. And when I bring a tray of macaroons out of the hot oven, it gives me total satisfaction. 

What is desiccated coconut?

Desiccated coconut is the coconut meat which is shredded or flaked and then dried till almost all the moisture evaporates. Desiccated coconut is available in different styles around the world. And yes if desiccated coconut is not available you can use regular dried coconut though the latter has more moisture than its desiccated counterpart. 

One of the most common forms of desiccated coconut is not sweet and very powdery. It is made by drying shredded or flaked coconut and then grinding it to a powder. A slightly coarser desiccated coconut is also available. That’s not all you can even get sweetened desiccated coconut. I would therefore advise that read the label carefully before buying the product. 

Be cautious

You should be careful while using desiccated coconut. And this is why I said while buying read the label to ensure that you are buying the right one. The reason is that there are some recipes that require unsweetened desiccated coconut while there are some others that required the sweetened variety. If a recipe requires the unsweetened variety and you use the sweetened one, the end result could be cloyingly sweet. On other hand if the recipe requires the sweetened variety and you use the unsweetened one then the result could be tart and bitter. 

How to store

Desiccated coconut should be stored in a cool, dry place out of reach of light. It will then remain good for upto a year. Dried coconut, on the other hand, should ideally it should be stored in the freezer or in the refrigerator to keep it fresh and to prevent it from rancid. 

It has useful nutrients

Desiccated coconut has no cholesterol or transfats. But it has quite a few essential nutrients like dietary fiber, manganese, copper and selenium. But it has saturated fat which is why I would suggest that you should use desiccated coconut occasionally. 

Manganese helps in energy metabolism. It promotes the absorption of calcium and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Lack of manganese may lead to diabetes, arthritis or osteoporosis.

High intake of dietary fiber from foods like coconut could help prevent stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and digestive disorders like hemorrhoids, constipation, duodenal ulcers and colon cancer.

Uses of desiccated coconut

In baking, desiccated coconut can be added to a recipe for texture and an added coconut flavour. This coconut product is also used in the preparation of chocolates and other desserts, as a dusting for the outer layer. Puddings and ice cream can also be made with desiccated coconut. Cakes and cupcakes can also be sprinkled with desiccated coconut and it can also be used as a dressing or garnish for savoury foods.

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.