Healthy Lifestyle: Cooking with Coconut Oil

When oil is heated above its smoking point, its molecular structure changes and the oil starts to break down.  Coconut oil has a higher smoking point when compared to most vegetable oils, making it an ideal alternative to other cooking oils.  Its high smoking point of 350°F is great for sautéing, stir-frying or baking.  The natural sweet coconut oil flavor is great for sweetening smoothies, can be used as an alternative to butter for popcorn, as salad dressing or to make pie crusts, scones and cupcake icing.   Try these recipes and try substituting coconut oil in all your baking and cooking as part of your healthy lifestyle.

 Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 150 ml of coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
  • 50 grams of sifted cocoa powder
  • 125 ml boiling water
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • 150 grams of ground almonds or 125g of flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 3 large eggs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C/325°F and line cupcake tray with paper cases
  2. Whisk sifted cocoa powder in boiling water until you have a smooth paste.  Add vanilla extract to the cocoa mixture, and set aside to cool down.
  3. Mix ground almonds (or flour) with baking soda and salt in a bowl.
  4. Combine coconut oil, eggs, shredded coconut and sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until it becomes fluffy.
  5. Lower speed on mixer and add the cocoa mixture and ground almond mixture (or flour mixture).
  6. Scrape the sides of the mixture and stir with a spatula.
  7. Divide the chocolate coconut oil batter evenly into the paper cases and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until firm.
  8. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Coconut Cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut oil (plus more for greasing)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups of all purpose or plain flour
  • 28 grams or 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of cardamom
  • 1 pinch of coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of powder ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon of allspice
  • ½ teaspoon of cloves
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Directions

  1. Combine coconut oil, sugar and pumpkin in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla extract, flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg to the mixture, and beat till its smooth.
  3. Divide pumpkin coconut oil cookie dough onto a baking sheet greased with coconut oil.
  4. Bake at 375°F for 9 to 12 minutes.
  5. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.

Barbecued Salmon

Ingredients

  • Salmon filets (fresh and thawed)
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne
  • 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Directions

  1. Set barbeque at 400°F.
  2. Make a double layer of aluminum foil and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil to it.
  3. Place salmon filet on top of aluminum foil and dress with garlic, cumin and cayenne.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup on top of the salmon.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until flaky and tender.

Indian Chickpea Pulav (or Chickpea Rice)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 3 table spoons of coconut oil
  • 1 can of chickpeas or 425 grams chickpeas
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 medium-sized potato (cut in cubes)
  • 3 cups of chopped spinach
  • 1 cup of chopped red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of shredded ginger
  • 1 finely chopped red chili or jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon of garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 2 cups of water

Directions

  1. Heat coconut oil in pan.
  2. Add cumin, ginger, cloves, and red chili (or jalapeno pepper).  Stir for a few seconds.
  3. Add tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, chili powder and salt to the pan, and stir for approximately 2 minutes.
  4. Add chickpeas and potatoes to the pan and let it cook on medium-low heat for approximately 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer contents of pan to pot, and add rice, spinach, red peppers and water to it.
  6. Add garam masala and bay leaf to the mixture, and stir.
  7. Bring water in pot to boil, and cover with lid.
  8. Let it cool for 12 to 15 minutes on low heat or until rice is cooked.
  9. Add lemon juice to cooked rice and mix gently.