22 October 2011

Iron Chef Challenge #3: Coconut

It's time for another Vegan MoFo Iron Chef Challenge! This weekend's secret ingredient is coconut. After discovering the wonderful creaminess that coconut milk adds to so many dishes--a personal favorite is coconut milk-based ice cream--I seem to use that magical elixir in my food more and more. I've also begun to use coconut oil sporadically. Fresh, young coconut and its delicious juice are rare treats. Although it is one of the most accessible forms of coconut, the dried, shredded or flaked flesh hardly make it into any of the dishes I prepare. As a child, I disliked anything containing dried coconut; the texture of it, especially when it was untoasted, bothered me tremendously. I actually enjoy toasted coconut now and tolerate untoasted coconut in moderate amounts, but still don't use it very often. The Iron Chef Challenge seemed like as good an opportunity  as any to give that once-abhorred stuff a shot.

I went for simplicity here, opting to make a simple twist on hashbrowns. The addition of coconut gives the classic brunch dish a bit of a sweet, tropical touch with a bit of chewy bite. Thai curry paste adds a host of other complimentary flavors, as well as spice. I used a homemade paste, but store-bought paste would certainly work, too. Varying types may differ in heat and general intensity, so just adjust the amounts as necessary. Roll up a slice of this potato-coconut cake and top with sriracha for an extra kick, or simply enjoy it plain. It's delectable either way.

Coconut Hashbrowns (printer-friendly version)
Yields 2 large or 4 side servings
Gluten-, nut-, and soy-free

½ lb yellow-skinned potatoes (such as Yukon gold), cleaned and unpeeled
1 tsp salt
¼ c dried, shredded or flaked coconut (unsweetened)
2 tsp Thai curry paste
Canola oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200C. Lightly oil a medium-sized cast iron skillet (approximately 10-inch diameter) and place it in the oven to heat as you prepare the ingredients for the hashbrowns.

Grate the potatoes. Sprinkle salt over them and place them in a sieve over a bowl to drain for several minutes. Squeeze out and discard the excess liquid. Mix in the shredded coconut and curry paste.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and press the potato-coconut mixture into the bottom. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake it for 12 to 15 minutes, until the potato shreds have softened and cooked through.

Remove the foil cover from the skillet. The edges of the hashbrowns should be browned, but not burnt. Lightly brush the top of the hashbrowns with additional oil. Place them under the broiler for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and crisp. Serve warm and enjoy!


  1. This is amazing! I haven't eaten potatoes in forever but I think I really need to try this!

  2. interesting combination, i'm going to have to try this, it looks great :D

  3. zomg.....dan is going to freak out over these, Tiffany!!! if there are 2 things in the world 'o food he loves it's coconut and potatoes. hands downs. i'm gonna have to make these for him.....MEGAyay!

  4. Oh, Tiffany, that crust!  Very cool idea, kind of like a fried potato curry thing.  I love it.  Didn't think potato curry could get much better, but once again I have been proven wrong ;-)

  5. I would never ever think to add coconut to hash browns! And I am a coconut freak!

  6. I'm going to make this for breakfast right NOW.

  7. And it was/is DELICIOUS.

  8. Erin Wysocarski10/23/11, 1:18 PM

    good lard, I love it! Hashbrowns and sriracha is my favorite thing to eat ever. I'm going to try your recipe next time I make this -- thanks for the great idea/recipe!

  9. Yum!! Hashbrowns are one of my favorite foods, I will totally make this!

  10. I'm glad you liked it! :) Thanks for trying the recipe. I just tried it with Japanese sweet potato, which turned out to be a delicious variation.


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