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Welcome to Narjeel Restaurant Where Dinning tables meet the Night Sky
Narjeel Restaurant  

Narjeel Restaurant gets its name from the Arabic local name for coconut. Inspired by its culinary culture, Narjeel Restaurant embraces coconut as its platform to promote good taste and generosity as coconut being the main ingredient of many of Narjeel restaurant menu items. For people who live in the tropical countries where the coconut tree is intertwined with life itself, coconut tree play a major role in their lives. From the food they eat to the beverages they drink. Household utensils, baskets, cooking oil, furniture, and cosmetics, all come from the coconut tree. As people from Indonesians say, "There are as many uses for the coconut as there are days in the year"

Narjeel (Palm Tree)

Origins and cultivation

The Coconut Palm is a large palm among palm family trees, growing up to 30 m tall. The term coconut refers to the fruit of the coconut palm. The origins of this plant are the subject of controversy, with some authorities claiming it is native to south Asia, while others claim its origin is in northwestern South America.

Some historians surmise that many of the tropical regions where coconuts presently grow received their first coconut trees via the sea. Others believe the coconuts were brought to the different regions of the tropics by explorers and sea travelers. Today coconut cultivation encircles the globe between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

Zanzibar historians note that Arab traders carried coconut shells to England before Portuguese sailors reached East Africa. Arab sea travelers discovered profitable goods like coconut products in the Maldives islands just southeast of Sri Lanka. Zanzibar, an island off the East coast of Africa, depended on coconuts for food and as a cash crop for centuries. Natives used twisted cord made from the coconut husk to stitch together the hulls of boats that sailed the Indian Ocean. Salalah, a southern town in Oman has a unique feature being located in the Arabian peninsula, has a significant coconut palm plantation.

Where the Coconut Gets its Name

Spanish and Portuguese explorers were taken by the three little eyes at the base of the coconut's inner shell that reminded them of a grinning face, and named them coco, the word for goblin. Some have translated the word coco to mean monkey face.

Coconut has many uses and is considered the most useful tree in the world, the coconut palm provides food, drink, clothing, shelter, and financial security. Hardly an inch of the coconut palm goes to waste in countries where families rely on the coconut palm for survival and refer to it as the "tree of life." The Indonesians say, "There are as many uses for the coconut as there are days in the year."

The coconut meat, the white portion of the nut, offers more than just sustenance. The coconut is considered a highly nutritious food. The white meat also contains coconut oil the tropical natives use for cooking. The shell, husk, roots of the tree, and wood of the trunk also become useful products. Charcoal filters used in gas masks and cigarettes are made from coconut shells that are burned, leaving pure carbon behind. The rope made out of the coconut husk has household practicality in tropical countries where coconuts are part of almost everyday cuisine. The husk provides fuel for cooking as well as fiber for making clothing. Coconut Rope is also used to make mats.

Coconut oil is used for lighting and candle making. Coconut shells are made into buttons, form a base for decorative carvings, and are burned for fuel. In tropical countries like Indonesian and Sri Lankan women use coconut oil as hairdressing and as a lotion for the body. Coconut oil has proved itself useful in many household products. Soap made from coconut oil lathers exceptionally well. Coconut oil is often included in shampoo recipes as well as shaving creams for its excellent moisturizing ability as well as its ability to produce abundant lather. The coconut shell serves as a bowl or cup and can be carved into other household items such as spoons, forks, combs, needles, and handles for tools. Finally, when the tree is no longer producing coconuts, it can be cut down and its attractive wood can be used to make furniture.

Coconut cultural and Folklore aspects

From fertility taboos to unseen magical forces, fascinating folklore practices revolving around the coconut have evolved throughout the coconut growing regions. Until the early 1900's, a whole coconut was the accepted form of currency in the Nicobar Islands, just north of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. In the South Pacific, pieces of coconut shell carved into coin-like spheres served as currency. Coconuts are extensively used in Hindu religious rites. Coconuts are usually offered to the gods, and a coconut is smashed on the ground or on some object as part of an initiation or inauguration of building projects. In Northern India, coconuts were valued as fertility symbols. When a woman wanted to conceive, she would go to a priest to receive her special coconut. In contrary, In Bali, women were forbidden to even touch the coconut tree. Because females and coconut trees both share the ability to reproduce, men fear that a woman's touch may drain the fertility of the coconut tree into her own fertility.

Young coconut juice is literally a well-supplied medicine chest that comes in its own container and is used in folk healing for a number of ailments such as: relieving fevers, headaches, stomach upsets diarrhea and dysentery. The juice is also given to strengthen the heart and restore energy to patients. Pregnant women eagerly drink large quantities of young coconut juice because they believe it will give their babies strength and vitality. The first solid food eaten by a Thai baby is three spoonfuls of the custard-like flesh of young coconut fed to him or her by a Buddhist priest.

Health Benefits

Indigenous people of tropical countries relied on natural plants for their medicine. Young coconut juice is literally a well-supplied medicine chest that comes in its own container and is used in folk healing for a number of ailments: relieving fevers, headaches, stomach upsets, diarrhea and dysentery. The juice is also given to strengthen the heart and restore energy to the ill. Pregnant women in the tropics eagerly drink large quantities of young coconut juice because they believe it will give their babies strength and vitality. Water from a young coconut not only provided a refreshing drink in the steamy equatorial countries, but in times of medical emergency it was used as a substitute for glucose. During World War II young coconut water became the emergency room glucose supply when there was no other sterile glucose available. Within a clean self-contained vessel, the coconut water is free of impurities and contains about two tablespoons of sugar.

Because lauric acid has potent anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, recent studies have considered coconut oil as a possible method of lowering viral levels in patients. The lauric acid may also be effective in fighting yeast, fungi, and other viruses such as measles, Herpes simplex, influenza and cytomegalovirus.

Coconut culinary and Cuisine

Hearts of palm, sometimes known as palm-cabbage, from new unopened leaf shoots at the top of the coconut tree, are eaten fresh in tropical countries. Added to salads, they are sliced to provide a crunchy bite. Hearts of palm are also marinated in lemony brine, canned, and sold at supermarkets, Asian markets, and gourmet groceries in many countries. In Zanzibar the heart of the palm is used in a salad called "millionaire's salad.

Sweetened coconut milk is a featured ingredient in the refreshing tropical cocktail Pina Colada that also contains pineapple juice. Throughout the Pacific islands, beverages made from coconut milk and pineapple, or other fruits such as mango and papaya, are combined in numerous ways to cool and refresh. Spicy coconut chutneys are a favorite meal accompaniment to a South Indian dinner. In the Philippines buko, a pie made from young coconut, or makapuno, the pie using mature coconut, is a special dessert treat. The buko has a smooth, creamy texture, while makapuno pie, made from grated coconut, has a chewy texture and rich flavor.

Coconut milk lends its richness to many curries served throughout Southeast Asia. Thai cooks prepare green, red, and yellow curries that each contain a base of coconut milk.

Growing
 

The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and is highly tolerant of salinity. It prefers areas with abundant sunlight, regular rainfall, high humidity (7080%+) and mean annual temperature of about 29C. Coconut palms are intolerant of freezing weather.

If you plan to grow coconuts, better have patience, six years of patience before you can expect to see any signs of coconuts and reach full bearing about the eighth year. Individual nuts mature about a year after blossoming. The coconut palm is considered a "three generation tree," supporting a farmer, his children, and his grandchildren. Some trees, which can grow to a height of 60 to 100 feet, even survive all three generations.

How a farmer harvests the coconuts is a matter of choice. On the average, trees produce about 60 mature coconuts a year, though some will produce two or three times as many. The easiest method of harvesting and one that assures fully ripened coconuts, is to simply allow the ripe nuts to fall to the ground. Alternatively, the farmer employs skilled men to literally climb up to the top of the tree and cut the ripe nuts down. In some countries, farmers have been able to train pig-tailed monkeys to gather the ripe coconuts.

Purchasing and Storing

Coconuts come to market in two major stages of maturity. Young coconuts: are valued for their sweet, revitalizing juice. The meat of the young coconut is completely edible and has a softer, more delicate consistency than a mature coconut. The very young coconut meat is almost jelly-like and can be eaten with a spoon. One can recognize a young coconut by its pale, almost ivory color and by its conical shape at the top. Young coconuts are stored in the refrigerator or cold area.

MATURE COCONUT: The mature coconut is valued for its thick, firm meat used world wide in shredded or grated form, often for baked goods. Coconut in its mature stage has a rich, nutty flavor and chewy texture with higher oil content than young coconut. Coconut milk, coconut cream, and coconut oil all come from mature coconuts. Start the selection process by lifting and shaking the coconut to make sure it is heavy with plenty of water inside. If the coconut seems too light and you cannot hear water inside when you shake it, the nut may have a thin crack, has lost a great deal of its water, and may have begun to mold. The ideal coconut has plenty of liquid. You can feel its weight and hear it swoosh when you give the coconut a good shake. A mature coconut, unopened, can be stored at room temperature for about three or four months.

COCONUT MILK:

Canned coconut milk is available in most grocery stores; however, Asian markets offer several brands from which to choose. Notice that the total fat content can vary considerably from 2 grams to 17 grams. The cans with 2 grams of fat will be quite watery and taste diluted. For good flavor, choose a coconut milk with 8 to 9 grams of fat for its excellent consistency and richness in taste. Those with the highest fat are actually coconut cream from the first pressing that offers a thicker and creamier liquid.

Coconut Water:

The cavity of coconut is filled with coconut water which contains sugar, fibre, proteins, anti-oxidants, which are nature's anti-ageing compounds. Coconut water contains a full range of B vitamins with the exception of vitamin B6 and B12. it contains folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Coconut water provides an isotonic electrolyte balance, and is a highly nutritious food source. It is used as a refreshing drink throughout the humid tropics. For Urinary and Reproductive Systems Coconut water has long been known for its therapeutic effect on the urinary and reproductive systems. It is reported to clear bladder infections, remove kidney stones and clear urinary path. Medical research has shown consumption of coconut water to be very effective in dissolving kidney stones without the need for surgery. Eliminates poisons in the case of mineral poisoning

COCONUT OIL:

Purchase only extra virgin coconut oil available in health food markets. Though it may be more expensive than the refined oil, its health benefits far outweigh the extra expense. The refined coconut oil is hydrogenated during processing, while the extra virgin coconut oil contains no trans-fatty acids.

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