The other day we were down in the back yard clearing my vegetable patch (me) and taking care of some fire ant nests (Nick). I wandered off to check on our coconuts. I had picked one a few weeks earlier, attempted to open it and gave up. This time, I picked the largest looking one and gave it a shake. There was a reassuring liquid squishing sound: Coconut water!
Once Nick was done doing away with the ants time was getting on. “What’s for dinner?” he asked. “Wellllll….” I said. “How about something with, say, coconut!” Realizing that I had NO concrete plans for dinner, Nick decided to take matters into his own hands (and machete) and open up my main ingredient. No small feat, as the case may be! Our short coconut trees have very small nuts (no snickering!) so there was a lot of machete hacking and yanking at coconut fibers. But hunger pervailed, and eventually Nick handed me a fully exposed, drained and split coconut! So cute and so amazingly white. But what WAS I going to do with it?
I scoured my computer recipe index (a clever piece of programming by Nick) and found a promising mango curry by Madhur Jaffrey. But alas, we had no yogurt. By now, I was getting quite hungry, which makes for a fairly (ok very) cranky Miri. I decided to push forward the next day’s dinner, which was churassco, fry up some amarillos from our now ripened plantains and mix the freshly grated coconut into a makeshift salsa with a bunch of the mangoes from the previous day’s mango gathering. Dinner was eventually served and mighty tasty it was too!
Miri’s “we just spent 30 minutes getting into this coconut so by golly we are going to use it” Speedy Tropical Mango Salsa
2 cups diced mango
2 small thai red peppers (or to taste)
3 splashes of rice vinegar
1/2 tsp grated ginger or to taste
juice of 1/2 lime
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
2 tbs freshly grated coconut
Mix and serve with fish, chicken, beef or even tofu steaks!