Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dr. Lee on Coconuts

Coconut milk had been condemned in the past decades as deleterious to your health because of the high saturated fat and high caloric content, and it still is. But recent studies have shown that coconut milk has some health benefits as well. Coconut is quite abundant and inexpensive in the Philippines. Many people specially the poor depends on this food product for their daily existence. It's therefore not unusual to see many exquisite dishes prepared with the use of coconut milk as its basic ingredients. The Thais, Indians, Africans, Hawaiians, and of course the Filipinos have a variety of food prepared with the use of coconut milk. As a Bicolano, my taste buds longed for coconut dishes once in while. This is what I prepared two days ago and shared it with four other people with delight. Allow me to just simply call it coconut milk with vegetable because it is more descriptive.

1 can of thick coconut milk
1 dozen of large shrimp with the head on, unpeeled
2 bitter melon, cleaned and sliced into bite-size pieces
4 oriental eggplant sliced into bite-size pieces
1 yellow squash about 2 to 3 pounds in weight, peeled and sliced into bite-size pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1 ginger root, minced
1 teaspoonful of peppercorn
salt to taste

Heat 1 tablespoonful of canola oil, add the ginger and garlic until it turns golden brown. Add the onion and saute the shrimp for a few minutes, remove from sauce pan and set aside.

Using the same saucepan or wok, boil 1 can of chicken broth and cook the eggplant, bitter melon, and squash until it is almost done. Add the peppercorn, coconut milk and shrimp and allow to simmer until the vegetables are well done. Add salt to taste. For a spicy dish, add red chili pepper according to your taste and desire.

Serve with freshly cooked jasmine rice.

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