Young Coconut Meat (Nuea Ma-Phrao On เนื้อมะพร้าวอ่อน)

It’s that awkward stage when a young coconut becomes, uh, an adolescent. If you’re familiar with how young coconuts work, you’ll know upon cracking one open whether you get a baby coconut or a teenager. In general, if the meat is less than 1/8 inch thick, the coconut is young enough for you to drink its water and scrape off its tender meat with a spoon.

This one? It has reached puberty, but is not quite mature enough to be grated for the purpose of making coconut milk yet. The meat is somewhat hard and a little over 1/4 inch thick. I would have bent a spoon trying to scrape it off the shell. So instead, I use my hand to pry the whole thing out of the shell (not that difficult) and cut it up into thin slices. I can eat this as a snack. I can add it to Thai-style coconut ice cream. So many things to do with it.