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Thai Curry with Young Coconut Recipe

I love Thai food! Making it at home, fully aware of the amount of coconut milk and fat that goes in it, is a different story.

Lots of color and nutrients. Made with the water of young coconut instead of cocnut milk

I’ve made this Thai chicken curry recipe several times. It calls for 2 cans of coconut milk. One can has 70 grams of fat and 50 grams of saturated fat, so I always substitut the second can with an equivalent amount of low-fat or skim milk.

And it’s not just about fat grams. Too much coconut milk didn’t settle well in my stomach.

A client of mine–who is on a low fat diet to lower her cholesterol level–insisted that young coconuts are actually low in fat. Not being familiar with them, I decided to adventure and uncover their truth.

Young coconuts come from Thailand and are usually sold in Ethnic stores, such as Asian or Mexican. I also found them at my local Wegmans grocery store. One whole young coconut has 3 grams of total fat (all 3 are saturated); an amount not comparable to the fat in coconut milk!

Opening it required some muscle. You can scoop out the meat of the coconut, but I only used the water. The whole fruit yielded about 2 cups of water.

Thai Chicken Curry–with Young Coconut


  • 1 tbsp yellow or red curry paste
  • 1 cup (8 oz) coconut water
  • 1 cup low-fat or skim milk
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 c bamboo shoots, drained and chopped (can be skipped if not available)
  • 1 red sweet bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 1/2 green sweet bell pepper, cut into 1/2 squares
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped, cut into 1/2 inch squares
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks, cut into 1/2 inch squares


In a bowl, whisk together the curry paste and coconut water. Transfer to a wok and mix in the low-fat or skim milk, chicken, sugar, and bamboo shoots. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, until chicken juices run clear.

Add the peppers, onion, and pineapple to the wok. Continue cooking another 10-15 minutes.

Serve with basmati or jasmine rice.

Can the water really substitute the coconut milk? It really depends on you. The coconut taste was apparent and it was a delicious sweet and hot Thai dish. My husband missed the creamy texture of coconut milk though.

If you love coconuts but avoid them because of saturated fat, the water of young coconuts might be your solution.

To make this recipe with coconut milk, substitute the coconut water with a can of coconut milk.

Nour’s guidance and expertise was the key to dramatically halting our son’s [Crohn’s] disease progression! His pediatric gastroenterologist is now in agreement of our choice to treat solely with diet and supplements. All his labs have improved and his inflammatory markers are so low they are practically nonexistent.

Before working with Nour, I experienced intestinal pain off and on for for 54 years with minimal success on medications. I have benefited 100% from Nour’s program as I am now pain free!

A lot of time and money was wasted on foods that I thought would help my digestive struggles [diarrhea, bloating, hunger], but in fact I was making it worse. The main benefit is getting a handle on what negatively affects my digestive symptom. Doing a total 180 to my eating habits has been pretty amazing.


4 thoughts on “Thai Curry with Young Coconut Recipe”

  1. Nour I’m trying this tomorrow, it looks amazing, do you know anything about coconut powder, I use it to make coconut milk as it’s less fat because you put as much powder as you want. what do you think????

  2. You can scoop out the soft meat with a spoon and blend with the water to make a thicker milk. It is still sooo much lower in fat than canned. One bite of the coconut meat and you may forget the recipe and just decide to live on that for the rest of your life. It’s very very very worth the effort.

    1. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

      Hi Dani,
      Thanks of sharing. I actually tried to do that. The instructions on their website (http://www.youngcoconuts.com/) said so. But the consistency and texture were weird. It was a thin jelly-like material. It wasn’t something I could bite. Any idea?

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