“Supermarket Score!” is all about taking a look at the great deals and delicious meals that are hidden in lesser-known yet commonly found supermarket items.
Coconut water is getting a lot of attention lately, especially from celebrities who are endorsing it as the “it” drink of the moment - and rightfully so! Coconut water is the actual liquid that is harvested from inside the center of a coconut (whereas “coconut milk” is a much richer prepared combination of that liquid and some of the meat of the coconut and “cream of coconut” is a sugar’ed-up version of coconut milk commonly reserved for making drinks like Pina Coladas). Coconut water is an incredible source of hydrating nutrients and has been a staple of many latin kitchens for generations. In fact, if you’ve ever ventured down the Latin or Mexican aisles of your local supermarket, you’ve likely walked right past it.
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Because coconut water is much lighter than it’s creamy “milk” counterpart, I like to swap it out for stock when cooking. Aside from being super affordable (reach for one of the generic brands - you’ll pay extra for the “celebrity-endorsed” ones), it’s crisp, clean, almost “grassy” taste does a great job of lightening up the flavor and calorie count of dishes that can otherwise overpower. It’s that delicious extra touch that leaves all your guests wondering “Hhhmmm…what is that flavor?”. Next time you’re cruising through the aisles of the grocery store, check out the top and bottom shelves of the Latin or Mexican aisle and grab yourself a few cans of coconut water. When you get home, try these ideas out:
Fluffy Coconut Rice:
Give your next pot of rice a boost by replacing the stock or water with coconut water. The liquid will still keep your rice light and fluffy. Stir in a last minute handful of some sliced scallions or cilantro and it will be ready to pair with any Latin or Asian-inspired main course.
Braised Pork Tacos:
When entertaining a crowd, nothing gets you more bang for your buck while winning everyone over like classic Mexican-style Braised Pork Tacos. Swap out the chicken stock for coconut water next time you make them and taste a lighter side of this party favorite that’ll have everyone wondering what your secret ingredient is.
Lighter Tropical Margarita:
The classic warm-weather cocktail stretches into an incredibly refreshing patio cooler with the addition of some coconut water. Simply whip up your favorite margarita recipe or borrow one from Rach’s library, like her Grapefruit Margarita or this Frozen Apple Margarita. Fill a glass with ice and combine one part coconut water with two parts of the margarita and you’ve got a drink you can sip on all afternoon.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has. Probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team on Rachael’s daytime talk show, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest twEATs on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickdecker.com.