Life Life

22/12/2019 - 08:07

Fragrant coconut sprout salad

Despite the overcast winter days, the old coconut still sprouts. In summer, people often eat cool coconut sprout mixed with sugar. Coconut sprout salad and coconut sprout stir fry with shrimp are the exotic and aromatic dishes during the gloomy and windy winter days.

Coconut sprout salad is like a small ray of sun, shining brightly in the winter

Coconut sprout is a special part that only appears when the coconut is about to germinate. They absorb the essential nutrients from the coconut water and flesh to produce fresh, fat sprouts.

When I was little, my family had only one coconut tree. I do not know when it was planted. The coconut tree was high and dangerous, but my father would spoil us by climbing up to the top of the tree to tear down the coconut bunch.

For dry coconuts, it was great luck for us kids to catch some floating noisily down the creek. Not all of the coconuts had sprouts. So, when we did get a sprouted one, we would shout and fight each other for it until the eldest brothers got a machete to split the coconut sprout into smaller parts for each child. Only then would we stop yelling and fighting. 

Nowadays, everything becomes more convenient, and coconut sprouts turn into a delicious, readily available product. Just make a phone call and we can have one right away. Stir-fried coconut sprout with shrimp is a delicious food, but a little... costly. The most interesting is coconut sprout salad. One would think that the cool taste does not fit in with the winter time, but the coconut sprout salad is like a small ray of sun, shining a bit of the sweetness of the dazzling summer into the cloudy sky.

Coconut sprout chosen to make salad should not be too big or too small, just the size of a plum or fist is appropriate. Small sprouts do not have an adequate porosity, and large sprouts are too crumbly. So, the best choice is medium sized sprouts, which are sliced into finger-size. Then, they are tossed with shrimp, pork belly, sweet and sour carrots, onion and cilantro to make the best salad.

Stir fry onion with oil, and make sweet and sour fish sauce with garlic, chili, and lemon. Then, mix well. Afterwards, we have a unique coconut sprout platter, which is unlike any other winter salad.

The ivory color of the coconut sprout is so tender, yet it is the queen of taste. Just mix gently, because coconut sprouts can quickly absorb the spices. Have a bite of the salad to understand the interesting taste of winter coconut sprout. The taste of coconut sprout is crunchy and porous. The smell of coconut is strong and cool. Shrimp and meat absorb the spices. The vegetables are sweet, sour and delicious.

The eye-catching salad is cool and warm, and delicious and rich in energy. There is no need for hot rice, just eat with some rice paper or shrimp crackers.

Stir-fried coconut sprout with shrimp is not an inferior dish, but when encountering heat, coconut sprout can very quickly shrink. It takes five or seven sprouts to make a small dish. Therefore, coconut sprout salad is still preferred. The freshness of the sprout is kept intact, rich in color, and rich in aroma. In Ben Tre coconut land, this is a unique specialty dish. For me, coconut sprout salad is not just one of my favorite dishes. It is also a memory of my innocent, carefree and warm childhood.

Story and photo: MAI HUE