Made by pressing dried coconut flesh (copra), coconut oil is golden liquid that becomes opaque as it solidifies. In countries where coconut trees grow in abundance, it is made from fresh coconuts.
Coconut oil is widely available in Asian and African grocers, and in some large supermarkets.
The oil has a high degree of saturated fat, so it does not become rancid easily. Keep it in a cool place, but do not refrigerate.
Gently warm solidified coconut oil to bring it back to its liquid state before use. The oil is used commercially in making margarine, biscuits, confectionery and some ready meals. In the domestic kitchen, it should be used sparingly to make South Indian vegetable and fish curries, fried snacks and sweets, or poured into cooked Indian dishes for extra flavour, like a condiment.
Article by Sejal Sukhadwala
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