How to open a young Thai coconut
Opening fresh coconuts takes a bit of practice. It can be a bit daunting and scary at first.
I have had a few disastrous trial runs at this over the years, and there have been a few laughs, tears and injuries along the way.
My first foray into coconut cracking was with my dad many years ago before the days of the internet and how-to videos on YouTube.
I asked dad to help me assuming he was a coconut cracking expert having grown up in the tropics of Australia where he had coconuts growing in his back yard.
My first mistake.
It turns out, a coconut owner does not a coconut cracker make!
After several exasperated attempts to crack open these coconuts with our very sharp meat cleaver I went into the kitchen in search for alternate implements only to return five minutes later to find "Tim-The-Tool-Man-Taylor" hacking and cracking into the first batch of coconuts with an electric drill he had grabbed in desperation from his tool shed!
After guffaws were uncorked watching him prepare our drinking coconuts with engineering googles and power tools I politely told him that “I didn’t think that this method was the most sanitary way to extract our precious organic coconut water."
Without even blinking he carefully explained to me with great conviction that, “he needed to pierce all of the eyes of the coconut so that the water would pour out neatly."
Well, he was right about that, and we did extract our water with ease.
Raw coconuts have three eyes, and if you pierce the soft one in just the right place you can quickly drain the water by turning it upside down over a jug.
But how were we going to scoop out all of the coconut meat for our desserts?
We used a saw.
However, we set about researching an alternate approach for our next coconut cracking adventure.
A week later we had some success with a better quality meat cleaver, less fear, and the total conviction of a champion wood chopper.
Years later, I perfected my coconut cracking technique after watching many videos. I've decided that this video is my favorite.
Instructions for opening a young Thai coconut:
- Use a very sharp meat cleaver. Do not use your expensive chef's knife. It won't work and you will ruin your knife.
- Lay a cutting board on top of a kitchen towel on a flat secure bench or floor.
- Shave off the outer layers and get down to the inner coconut.
- As soon as you break through to the inner layer, place the coconut upright, and cut into the side of it diagonally and pry it open. Watch the video.
- Pour out the water into a jar, bottle or pot, and scoop out the flesh. Cut off the brown shell from the pieces and rinse under cold water to clean. The soft creamy meat scoops out easily with a spoon, and the harder meat can be loosened with the back of a spoon.
Not all coconuts were created equal. They range in size and age, and that will determine the water yield and the texture of the meat.