I came across this very simple and healthy tropical smoothie quite by accident.
The other day, I was at a loss what to have for my breakfast. I hadn’t been grocery shopping for a while, so I’d run out of healthy food.
Well … almost. I did have a very ripe banana left in my fruit bowl.
Then, I thought I could make a smoothie with the banana. I love smoothies (as I’ve probably told you before).
I looked in the fridge for some milk – but sad to say there wasn’t any – no cow’s milk, no goat’s milk.
So I went to my kitchen cupboard. And I was in luck. I found a can of coconut milk.
Now I can hear you cry, “Uh-oh! Not coconut milk. Isn’t that bad for you?”
Bear with me. If you’re not careful, coconuts can be two-faced. Like having a split personality. Sometimes they can wear an evil grin, but other times they can be proper little angels. (More on coconuts further down the page.)
Anyway, this is how I made my very simple tropical smoothie.
This is for 1 person.
Just blend all the ingredients until smooth.
I was nicely surprised with the result. Until then, I’d always seen coconut milk as something to cook with. Not something to be consumed uncooked in a smoothie like that.
You can bet I’ll be using it more often now.
I usually use whole goat’s milk in my smoothie. I do love my whole milk. So, I’ll still use dairy. But coconut is a tasty alternative if you don’t fare well with dairy products.
Well, coconuts can either be very bad for you. Or they can be good for you. It depends.
You see, most coconut products you find are not healthy. This is because most of them are heat treated, highly processed and laden with additives.
But natural untreated coconut is very healthy. It’s true that coconut does have a very high saturated fat content. But its saturated fat is the good kind.
Just make sure you always choose raw, cold-pressed or un-processed coconut products.
So, if you want coconut oil, make sure it’s extra-virgin and cold-pressed. When you buy coconut milk, make sure the product consists of just water and coconut. If it has any other ingredients you don’t recognize, don’t buy it.
Coconut milk has other health issues too. More about that in a bit.
Anyway, whenever you buy coconut products, read the ingredients list. It should be very short. No additives or other chemicals.
First of all, let me explain what coconut milk really is.
Coconut milk is basically the liquid that is squeezed out of the mature coconut flesh. It’s quite a staple food item in Burma where I come from.
My parents used to make coconut milk at home. They would buy a fresh coconut just cut down from the tree and sold in the open market. Then my dad would crack open the coconut with a big machete. Next, he would scrape out the coconut flesh with a special grater.
Yes, we do have graters specially made for coconut flesh. They’re nothing like the cheese graters you find in Western supermarkets.
Then he would put the grated coconut in a muslin cloth and squeeze out the liquid. He would repeat this process several times for each lump of grated coconut. The result was delicious creamy white coconut milk.
Then my mum would use it to cook coconut rice or coconut noodle soup or some other savoury food. They were simply very yummy.
It’s quite time-consuming. So, my parents would make this sort of thing only on holidays or for special occasions. But it was a real treat when they did that.
Now, I’m not suggesting you should go through all the steps my dad followed. Even though that’s the best quality and the most tasty coconut milk you can possibly get, you probably don’t have time to do that. (And finding fresh coconuts might not be that easy, either!)
I sure don’t have the time. Nor the patience.
So, we have to resort to buying ready made coconut milk in grocery stores.
The most common form we find is the canned version. I have found great quality canned coconut milk with no chemicals added in this online store.
Now, you have to be careful with them. There are some concerns about chemicals leaking into the coconut milk from the cans. (Gosh! All I want is a nice tropical smoothie and I have to think of all these issues as well. Why is life so complicated??)
So, even if you find canned coconut milk that contains only water and coconut, be careful.
I don’t recommend using the canned version as a regular food item because of the possible leaked chemicals.
But, if you can find coconut milk in waxed paper cartons, that will be better. I haven’t heard of any chemicals leaking into coconut milk from cartons. So, you’re probably ok. ;-)
As a matter of fact, I’ve found a brand of pure coconut milk in paper cartons here.
Another alternative to getting pure coconut milk without the leaked chemicals and other additives is to use creamed coconut. It’s basically dehydrated coconut flesh ground into a block. When you want coconut milk, you melt the block in warm water. Then it turns into coconut milk.
I’ve tried this version too. And it tasted just as good as the canned version.
And guess what? You’ll find excellent hard-to-find creamed coconut here in that same store.
Of course, nothing beats my Dad’s home-made coconut milk.
The funny thing is that my parents now have their own coconut trees in their garden. All they need is to ask a strong local boy to climb the trees for them and cut the coconuts down.
But they no longer make coconut milk. It’s too much like hard work for them. And there’s nobody (like me) to gobble up the food like a gannet. And they think they’re too old for that sort of thing – even though they’re not even 60 yet.
I wish I lived in a house surrounded by coconut trees. I could enjoy a delicious tropical smoothie whenever I wanted. Maybe one day. :-)
Get Great Quality Coconut Milk Here (Don’t forget to check the ingredients list.)
Coconut Milk In A Carton To Avoid Chemicals Leaked From The Cans
Get Hard-To-Find Creamed Coconut Here (again don’t forget to check the ingredients)