Young Coconut and Basil Seeds

Young Coconut(Photo by Farrukh/flickr)

While in most recipes basil seeds are simply an addition, there are some desserts in which they are a major component, as in the following recipe for a cool thirst-quencher featuring basil seeds and young coconut or palm sugar seeds.

Serves 6-8.


2 tablespoons basil seeds
125 g/4 oz/1/2 cup sugar
400 ml/14 fl oz can coconut milk
400 ml/14 fl oz can young coconut in syrup


Soak the basil seeds in plenty of cold water and leave for 10 minutes or until each seed develops a translucent coating. Dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup water on gentle heat. Combine sugar syrup with coconut milk. Brands vary, and if you know your brands well enough, use one which is fairly light and smooth. If it turns out to be thick and lumpy, warm it gently until smooth and dilute with a little water. Add the drained basil seeds. Stir in syrup from can of young coconut.

Cut young coconut flesh into neat pieces or slender strips and stir into the mixture. Serve at room temperature, or ladle it over a couple of ice cubes in each bowl.


Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)