The benefits of cooking with coconut oil

 May 3, 2019  
Sekh Sahajan,
Executive Chef

Coconuts are the new superfood that everyone around the world is talking about. Closer to home, it has been an integral part of cooking in Peninsular India and its many benefits have been listed in ancient Ayurvedic texts which date back to centuries.

In fact, these texts even describe the coconut tree as 'kalpa vriksha', the tree that offers all that is needed for life.

Before we get into its benefits, allow me to help bust some myths about coconut oil being unhealthy and fattening. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids or MFCAs, which are easy to digest, even without the assistance of pancreatic enzymes. These reach the live through the portal vein and do not enter the blood stream or the lymphatic system. Hence, they do not clog your arteries and on the contrary actually help lower cholesterol and improve metabolism.

The long chain fats in other oils in contrast are difficult for the body to digest and pass directly into the lymphatic system.

Let's take a look at some of the many useful properties of using coconut oil in cooking:

  1. It calms the Vata and Pitta dosha and brings balance to the Kapha dosha.
  2. Gives the good cholesterol in your body a boost. In fact, it is heart smart and helps convert bad cholesterol to good cholesterol.
    Helps control blood sugar and overcome insulin resistance, thus making it ideal for those suffering from diabetes.
  3. Promotes liver health and helps heal urinary tract infections.
  4. Helps eliminate toxic bacteria from the stomach and aids in digestion.
  5. Recommended to boost the metabolism of those suffering from thyroid issues.

Here are two recipes from Naad's kitchens which use extra virgin coconut oil, which I recommend you add to your kitchen stock too. Do try them at home and let me know what you think on head.chef@naadwellness.com

Vegetables Besara


  • Sweet Potato150 gm
  • Pumpkin150 gm
  • Raw papaya 400 gm
  • Raw banana 100 gm
  • Arbi 200 gm
  • Tomato 150 gm
  • Coconut Oil 25 ml
  • Radish 150 gm
  • Coconut 1/2 pc
  • Brinjal 200 gm
  • Onion 100 gm
  • Coriander leaves 25 gm
  • Mustard seeds 6 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds 21/2 teaspoon
  • Garlic 15 cloves
  • Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon
  • Salt as per taste


  • Make a fine paste of mustard seeds (5 teaspoons), cumin seeds (2 teaspoons), green chillies (2 pieces) and garlic.
  • Clean the vegetables, peel and chop into small pieces.
  • Slice the onions into thin slices and finely chop the coriander.
  • Cook the vegetables with turmeric powder and salt in 6 cups of water
  • Cook for 15 minutes or until they are completely cooked. Add grated coconut.
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and add mustard seeds (1 teaspoon), green chilli (1 piece) and cumin seeds (1/2 teaspoon).
  • When it starts spluttering add the onion slices and fry till they become golden brown.
  • Add the cooked vegetables and stir for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with grated coconut.


  • Rice vermicelli1 cup
  • Cashew nut 3 to 4
  • Figs (chopped) 2
  • Cardamom 3 pods
  • Jaggery 3/4cup
  • Coconut Oil 30 ml
  • Coconut milk 2 cup


  • Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pot.
  • Add cardamom and stir well.
  • Add the rice vermicelli.
  • Saute over medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes until the vermicelli turns deep golden. Heat another pan to melt the jaggery.
  • Add coconut milk and melted jaggery to the sauted vermicelli.
  • Stir continuously. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or more until all the liquid evaporates. Switch off the flame and garnish with coconuts.
  • Cover with a tight lid and allow to stand for 5 to 7 minutes. Take off the lid and gently fluff up the vermicelli.

About the author: Chef Sahajan is a graduate of the Institute of Hotel Management, Bhubaneswar and brings with him over 16 years of culinary experience. He specialises in the 'tridosha' form of cooking, based on the principles of Ayurveda. Chef firmly believes in cooking fresh, seasonal produce that are aligned with the cycles of nature. In fact, he nurtures his small kitchen garden on the Naad estate and often cooks with herbs and vegetables sourced from our own backyard. A keen photography enthusiast, he is also a member of several industry associations including the Indian Federation of Culinary Association (IFCA), World Association of Chefs (WACs) and the Chef Guild of India.