Tuesday, March 25, 2014

COCOZIA Coconut Water

Recently I was contacted by the suppliers of COCOZIA coconut water to sample their product. The product came in neat handy packs that are handy to grab and go and versatile to slot into my purse and even my kids' lunch bags. The whole box contained 12 handy packs of 330ml each, measuring about 1 and 1/2 cups for the cooking enthusiasts.

I love the design of the packaging and compared to a round can of soda, it's angular boxy shape is an easier grip in my hand. Each pack came with its own straw to mimic the way that fresh coconut water is drank in Tropical countries where a long straw is used to sip coconut juice from a fresh coconut.

As much as I have read and learned from Health periodicals and info, Coconut water is an excellent source of minerals. I have always known it is a cooling drink and in my culture, taken to expel heat and toxins from the body in very hot weather. COCOZIA is organic and all natural without any added  sugar or flavorings. That means its taste is as close as to the real thing that you can get. I personally like the taste, although a bit mild from the first pack that I tasted, but it tasted more flavorful with the second pack a few days later. Only after the second pack that I realized that the suppliers of COCOZIA clearly stated on the package that each pack may taste slightly different as the juices were extracted and filtered from different batches of coconuts. That makes sense, since not all fresh coconuts produce equal tasting juice, some sweeter, some milder! Just like any other fruits.

I tried it after my gym sessions and felt good about it. Usually I will just sip down water to quench the thirst and when I tried COCOZIA , it re-energized and hydrated better and kept me going without feeling fatigue for another few hours. Now, that is a good energizer for a very busy run around person like me!

I tried and used COCOZIA in some of my cooking. I personally prefer to drink it straight out of the packs or poured over ice in a tall glass on a hot day.  Coconut water tends to intensify in flavor and aroma after a boiling and I used it in creating this very simple and quick to cook Curry dish. Coconut milk , which is produced by the extraction of the coconut flesh and squeezed in its own water content to yield the white milk that is sold in cans here is used in most Curry dishes and because of its high fat content, I don't use it too often. In substitution, I used COCOZIA coconut water with Fat free sour cream to create the Curry gravy. If you are a conscious eater like me, COCOZIA is a good option for cooking anything.

I also made seaweed jelly and mango smoothie using COCOZIA as the liquid base. Basically, it is a very versatile ingredient and substitution for any type of liquid portions in a recipe. As spring and summer are approaching, I see myself experimenting more with COCOZIA in lovely drinks concoctions and dessert dishes.

Overall, I like COCOZIA as I grew up with fresh Coconut water and have been used to its fresh tropical flavor direct from the coconut itself or in cooking. For anyone new to coconut products, try COCOZIA, for its mild and clean taste. Just one last word, shake it before drinking and best served chilled!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Taro with Shrimp Bites

I never understood why my parents love Taro so much when I was young. Now, I have caught up with their tastebuds and simply adore cooking with it. It has this subtle sweetness with the earthy mouthful taste that no other root vegetable can substitute. I prefer the bigger type to the smaller kind, for the main reason that I hate peeling too many small ones and would rather handle a big one in one go!

Previously, I never knew how to store and extend the fresh Taro that I buy. They usually go soggy and gives to mushiness before I even decided how to cook them. But now I finally learned the way to extend the freshness of the Taro. Simply wrap the Taro in parchment paper tightly and put the whole thing into another plastic bag and wrap around it. Store it in the fridge and it actually lasts for more than 1 week. 

But there is one thing about cooking taro. It absorbs alot of oil during the cooking process, hence  a teaspoon or two  simply will not suffice to cook an appetizing meal out of it! For this dish, I pan fried rather than deep fried the Taro Shrimp and throughout, I had to add more cooking oil. 

 This was a random dish that I made up with about 1/2 lb of shrimp left in my freezer and half of a medium sized Taro, of which I cut into very thin strips. The shrimps were first removed from their shells, cleaned and put into the food processor. Seasoned with salt , pepper and sesame oil, the shrimps are then processed into a paste. I added 1 egg white with a teaspoon of corn starch and mix together. Taking the Taro strips, I dropped them into the shrimp paste and mixed in with a spoon. With the shrimp paste coating and holding the Taro strips, I shaped and spooned portions out and pan fried each till brown, turning on the sides. Best to serve immediately while the Taro is still crisp. Some mayo or mustard for dipping is great too!