Cocos nucifera L. is the scientific name for the coconut palm. This is the only accepted species of the Cocos genus. As this genus belongs to the Arecaceae family of plants characterised by unbranched erect fibrous stems and fibrous root system that lacks tap root root hairs. This is also the characteristics of monocotyledonous plants.
The plants are found throughout the tropic and subtropic area, mainly for the coconut oil production. The coconut oil contents differ from other other edible oils, and therefore suited to some purposes not afforded by the other edible oils. Virgin coconut oil has been known to have traditional medicine use.
The coconut fruit is unique in that it has a fibrous covering called "sabut" in Malay. Under natural condition this may help spread the coconut plant to other parts of the world. This is because the sabut helps the fruits to float on water, and that coconut plants are often planted close by the seashore. The buoyant fruits can be carried by the sea current to far away lands.
Coconut was once and important economic crop in Malaysia. However, with the advent of the oil palm (Eleis guanensis) planting and palm oil industry, the price of coconut fell sharply. As a result, the coconut fruits were left to rot in the fields and plantation. But then, one bright minded and creative Honourable Minister of Agriculture came up with the idea of promoting "kelapa muda" or "immature coconut fruit water" throughout the country as an alternative to conventional drinks. The result is that, nowadays we can enjoy coconut water drink in stalls by the roadside, restaurants and hotels. There are new coconut varieties that are specially planted for the coconut water drink. One example is the "kelapa pandan" or "screwpine coconut" or "pandan coconut". It tastes great. If you happen to visit Malaysia, do not miss it!
Coconut remains an important component of the Malay diet. The coconut milk remain to be used in curry and "gulai" particularly "gulai lemak" which can be translated as "fatty gravy". The more coconut milk is put, the better the taste. Same thing can be said of another food preparation call "nasi lemak" of "fatty rice". This dish is usually taken for breakfast. The dish is usually taken with "sambal ikan bilis" (chili anchovies) and either fried of boiled eggs. However, no matter how much it is liked, the weight and health watchers would always restrain from having to much of it. They reduce the amount of coconut milk in the preparation, reduce the frequency of consumption and some even substitute it with low fat milk.
Species : nucifera