I can’t think of any other plant or tree that is as versatile as the coconut tree. We use it in so many different ways – both in and out of the kitchen. Coconut water is one of the fastest growing non-alcoholic beverages. I used to go for walks with my dad by the seafront in Mumbai and drink fresh green coconut water as a child, although I’d often get him to drink the water from both our coconuts, only so I’d get to eat the delicious flesh inside. The vendor would cut a wedge off the shell, which doubled up as a natural spoon to scoop the flesh out – so resourceful and biodegradable! We use coconut water at home and at the restaurant to ferment hopper batter. The older coconut flesh is used to extract coconut milk, and grated into various stir-fried dishes including mallungs and poriyals, and condiments such as the famous pol sambol (a dry coconut relish made with red chilli, coconut, salt, lime and maldive fish). In fact, the best pol sambol is often made with leftover grated coconut after coconut milk has been extracted from it. We use coconut milk in most of our karis at Hoppers.