Whether or not you will be able to make this dish at home will depend on whether you can source green coconuts in your community. When we speak of green coconuts, we mean those coconuts which still have their entire shell (green, obviously) and which are not completely mature. In a green coconut, the consistency of the meat inside the shell is jelly-like and there is abundant water with the shell. In a mature coconut (the brown, "hairy" one) the meat has hardened to the point it can be cut into chunks and grated and if there is residual water, it's very limited in quantity.
This dish depends on both the meat and the water from green coconuts, and mature coconuts cannot be substituted. If you're lucky enough to live where coconuts grow (meaning - you live in the tropics) sourcing green coconuts shouldn't be a problem, And even if you don't live in the tropics, you should be able to find green coconuts in Latin American, African and Southeast Asian grocery stores in cities with immigrant communities.
As we mentioned in our previous posts about the native Brazilian mussel called sururu, if you don't live in Brazil you'll most likely have to substitute some other sort of mussel. That's no problem. But if green coconuts can't be found in your city, you'll just have to move on to another recipe on Flavors of Brazil. Sorry!
RECIPE - Brazilian Mussels in Green-Coconut Sauce (Sururu no Molho de Coco Verde)
5 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb sururu or mussels, meat only, no shells
salt to taste
1 large green coconut
finely chopped cilantro
In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil, then fry the onion until it is soft and transparent. Put the onion, along with the chopped tomatoes in a blender. Blend thoroughly, then reserve in blender.
Cut open the top of the coconut, then drain the water into the blender. Using a long spoon, scoop the meat out of the coconut and add to the blender. Blend again until completely homogenous.
Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and heat to simmering point. Add the mussels and cook for 15 minutes, or until the mussels have firmed up and the liquid has thickened.Stir in a small handful of chopped cilantro.
Remove from heat, and pour the mussels into the coconut shell for serving, accompanied by white rice.
Recipe translated and adapted from Circuito Gastronomico Sabores da Terra website.