I know there are those of you out there who don’t care for coconut (flavor or texture), and even those who just like it as an occasional flavor addition. However, there are those of us who love coconut; and if you love coconut, then you really love coconut. You know, Thai tea is one of your favorite drinks, coconut cream pie is one of your favorite desserts, and shredded coconut is equally appropriate on steak as it is on cake. So, when we see Nathalie Fraise’s The Whole Coconut Cookbook: Vibrant Dairy-free, Gluten-free Recipes Featuring Nature’s Most Versatile Ingredient, we’re likely having a myriad of responses, some more visceral than others! But this is not a coconut-lovers-only cookbook! The coconut is quite versatile, and not all parts and byproducts (aminos, butter, cream, flour, meat, milk, nectar, oil, sugar, vinegar, and water) have the same strength in taste—some have no “coconut flavor” at all! So, this is for everyone who is looking for variety and/or healthier alternatives to some traditional ingredients, especially those who have particular allergies or aversions.
Included are recipes for breakfast, main courses, salads and sides, snacks, drinks, and desserts, as well as homemade versions of some most byproducts listed above. Many recipes swap grain flours for nut and coconut flours and milk for coconut milk, which yield different consistencies and require alterations to traditional recipes as noted. However, not all recipes are dairy- and gluten-free (e.g., risotto, coconut rice, and kefir), but those of us who are not as concerned with these aversions will be thankful for their inclusion.
Most recipes are not going to be “new” or particularly surprising—they may simply swap ingredients for coconut-based alternatives. Others will bring welcomed “coconutty” goodness to your table. A couple of the more surprising dishes for me were the coconut risotto and coconut creamed corn (what?!), which will quickly be added to me repertoire.
The book itself is actually a relatively small hardback with fewer recipes than expected, but it’s still well designed. The beautiful photography by Erin Scott (love the textured wood backgrounds!) is too few—most recipes have no picture, but not all recipes obviously feature coconut in their appearance, which may have been a factor. Personally, I’d like to have seen some smaller photographs included for several recipes in order to have more of them—all photographs take up a whole page.
All things considered, I think this may be a helpful addition to many kitchen collections.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.