There has been a bit of buzz about coconut oil the past year or so, with a little side of controversy. I wrote a post on coconut oil some months ago, so check that out for a bit more detail (link here). Yet in a coconut-shell (sorry) here is the deal…while coconut oil is a saturated fat (the bad fat), the body processes it differently to other saturated fats, so it is not considered such a bad fat. Plus, it can be heated to high temperatures, so it’s safe for cooking. As it’s a saturated fat, it’s liquid when warmed and solid when cooled – hence the interchange between “coconut oil” and “coconut butter“.
Whenever I get a coconut-craving, I adore popping some in a smoothie for a delicious tropical taste. Although this hasn’t occurred much lately, what with it being absolutely freezing in Melbourne! Maybe I should make a coconut hot chocolate instead…
Coconut oil can also be used in baking (I used it in my oaty carrot bars), and I am keen to use it more in baking, as I find it imparts a lovely flavour. It’s nice in savoury dishes too…
As part of my work with Melrose, I created the following satay sauce recipe using their organic coconut oil. Many people are quite vocal about their satay sauce preferences, so know that this one is more of a sweet satay sauce, due to the coconut oil and the palm sugar. I tend to add more chilli for extra heat, yet for the masses I felt that a more modest amount would be appropriate (I do love my chilli). I also included a stir fry recipe, in case you need inspiration to use the satay sauce!
Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce
This recipe creates a sauce that is not overly hot. Play to your preferences and add more/less chilli as you desire. This sauce can be served as part of the related recipe, Cashew Coconut Chicken Satay with Stir Fried Vegetables, Soba Noodles and Coriander. Alternatively, drizzle the sauce over grilled tofu, grilled chicken or vegetables (cooked or fresh).
2 teaspoons Melrose Peanut Oil
2 large cloves Garlic, crushed (or 3 small cloves)
1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger, grated
1 teaspoon Red Chilli, finely chopped (or less if you don’t like the heat) * This Satay is not particularly hot.
2 ½ heaped tablespoons Melrose Cashew Butter
½ heaped tablespoon Melrose Unrefined Coconut Oil (in it’s solid form. This would equate to ~1 tablespoon of liquid coconut oil)
½ tablespoon Palm Sugar, shaved (from Asian Grocers)
1 teaspoon Melrose Sesame Oil
½ teaspoon Light Soy Sauce
* Substitutions: you could use brown sugar in place of the palm sugar, and you could use Melrose Almond Butter in place of Cashew Butter, if you wish.
* Make this sauce gluten-free by purchasing a gluten-free soy sauce.
1. In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the peanut oil over low-medium heat. When hot, add the crushed garlic, grated ginger and finely chopped chilli. Cook until the garlic is very lightly browned (2-3 minutes).
2. Add the cashew butter, coconut oil and palm sugar, and stir until the oil has melted and the mixture is smooth.
3. Add the sesame oil and soy sauce and stir to incorporate.
4. Taste and adjust flavouring as you see fit – i.e. if it is too hot, add in some more cashew butter to soften the flavour, if it’s not hot enough, add in some more chilli.
5. Cook for another minute and serve.
Cashew Coconut Chicken Satay with Stir Fried Vegetables, Soba Noodles and Coriander
8-12 Bamboo Skewers
1 bunch Bok Choy
¼ of 1 long Cucumber
½ of 1 medium Red Capsicum
1 medium Carrot
400g Chicken Tenderloins, trimmed of any fat
2 teaspoons Melrose Peanut Oil
2 teaspoons Light Soy Sauce
160g Soba Noodles
Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce (see recipe above)
1 big handful of Fresh Coriander leaves, roughly chopped
* Substitutions: in place of the soba noodles, you could use any sort of noodles you wish, or even steamed rice. Check out Asian Supermarkets for a great range of noodles. In place of the chicken tenderloins, you could use strips of chicken breast. For a vegetarian option, try grilling chunks of firm tofu on skewers.
* Make this dish gluten-free by purchasing gluten-free noodles (or using rice), and using a gluten-free soy sauce.
1. Soak the skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Whilst the skewers are soaking, cook your Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce (see recipe above) and set aside off the heat (you will reheat this later just before serving).
3. Prepare your vegetables by slicing the cucumber and capsicum into thin strips, and the carrots into thin rounds. Cut the ends off the bok choy and wash the leaves thoroughly.
4. Put a medium-sized pot of water on to boil.
5. Using the soaked bamboo skewers, thread the tenderloins lengthways (one tenderloin per skewer), starting at the thicker end of the tenderloin (i.e. straight through the middle). Set aside.
6. Heat 1 teaspoon of peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the carrot and stirfry for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the capsicum and stirfry for a further minute. Next add the bok choy and stirfry the vegetables two more minutes. Add in 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce during the last 30 seconds of cooking. Set aside. Reheat your vegetables in the wok for around a minute (or until hot) before serving.
7. Add your noodles to the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions (usually 3-4 minutes). When cooked, drain and put back into the pan with the lid on, and set aside.
8. At the same time your noodles are cooking, heat the other teaspoon of peanut oil over medium heat on a chargrill or barbeque grill. Cook the skewers for ~4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.
9. Heat up your Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce over low heat, stirring often, whilst you’re cooking the chicken. Be careful not to burn the sauce.
10. When your noodles and chicken are cooked, and your vegetables and sauce are warm, it is time to serve up. Divide the noodles evenly onto 4 plates (or bowls). Place the vegetables on top of the noodles, add the chicken skewers and then drizzle generously with Cashew Coconut Satay Sauce. Place the fresh, sliced cucumber to one side of the noodles, before finally scattering the dish with coriander.