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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Vegetables in Coconut Milk


This is one of my favourite recipes! It’s mild and has a nice fragrance and most of all, it’s quick and easy.

Most of the time, I just use a can of coconut milk. But this time I had quite a few pieces of fresh coconut meat and was thinking what to do with them. So, I thought of using them in this curry. The result was a curry with a lighter consistency so, I added some arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce. The canned coconut milk already contains a thickener, hence no need to use anything else.

Traditionally the coconut meat is crushed on, what we call in Mauritius, a “roche carri” which can be literally translated as a curry stone slab! It is infact a stone slab made of 2 parts – a flat rectangular block on which the ingredients are crushed and a stone rolling pin to crush with. Quite a great deal of strength and vigor is required to be able to crush coconut on a stone slab!


Thank goodness for technology! I didn’t use a stone slab to crush these coconuts. I just used my electric blender! I pre-cut the coconut pieces into smaller pieces before putting them in the blender. Big pieces might jam and break the blender.


If you are short of time or can’t find any fresh coconut meat, then just use a can of coconut milk but don’t add the arrowroot unless you still want a slightly thicker sauce!

So, here we go…

Ingredients (4 servings)

1 whole fresh coconut meat chopped to small pieces
400ml water
1 tablespoon arrowroot (or potato flour)
300g long green beans
1 large carrot
50g of frozen peas (or more if you like peas!)
1 can of red kidney beans
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
1 cotton cloth (for straining)

Prepare the coconut milk:

  • Place the chopped coconut pieces with the water in a blender. (If your blender is not large enough, do this in batches).
  • Grind until all the coconut pieces are very fine.
  • Strain this liquid by passing it through the cotton cloth. (The coconut residue can be later used to make coconut cookies or in other recipes).
  • You should obtain a little more than 500ml of pure coconut milk. Set aside (away from sight! It tastes so good, I almost drank it all!). Mix the arrowroot with the liquid.


Prepare the veggies:

  • Cut the long beans approximately 3-4cm in length. You can do this quickly by cutting a few at once.



  • Thinly slice the carrot about 3-4cm in length as well.


  • In a non-stick pan on medium heat, pour the vegetable oil. Allow it to warm a little and then toss in all the vegetables, except the red kidney beans. Stir a few times and cover.
  • Stir occasionally until the vegetables are half cooked.
  • Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, pour some of the coconut milk (give it a stir before, as the arrowroot will sink to the bottom).
  • Sprinkle the turmeric and stir on medium heat.
  • Continually add the rest of the coconut milk, stirring constantly.
  • Allow the sauce to reduce and slightly thicken.
  • Put all the vegetables in the sauce as well as the red kidney beans and salt.
  • Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve with rice and coconut chutney* (optional).


*Coconut chutney

¼ fresh coconut meat finely sliced
1 green apple
2-3 green chilies
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4-5 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients in a blender until fine. Add more water if required.


  1. interesting blog, am sure my mom would love it! :D

  2. Hello, nice recipe and it seems easy...for the coconut milk we can buy it in a supermarket i think ;p

    Have a nice day.

  3. I just love veggies cooked in coconut milk, with steamed rice it's real wholesome comfort food. I would have never thought of whipping up a coconut chutney, though, so will definitely give that a go - it sounds delicious!!

  4. Thank you all for your comments!

    anonymous: thanks!

    la pingouine: yes, coconut milk is available in supermarkets, I just had a few fresh pieces. I usually just use a can. :)

    DJ: coconut chutneys are indeed one of my favourite chutneys. They are so versatile and can go with a number of meals or snacks!


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