Working 1 at a time set a coconut on its side on a cutting board.
First, remove the white husk from one end of the coconut to expose the brown shell underneath.
Holding the coconut in place with one hand on the rounded end, carefully use the back end, or heel, of the knife to puncture the exposed coconut shell.
Do not use any force other than the weight of the knife. Do this a few times, working in a circle until you can wedge your knife into the coconut shell and pop off the top.
Drain the coconut water into a bowl and reserve for another use.
With the cut side of the coconut up, place the knife over the opening and cover the spine (dull side) of the knife with a folded kitchen towel.
Using a meat mallet or other heavy kitchen utensil, like a rolling pin, whack the knife where the towel covers it.
Repeat a few times until the coconut is cracked in half.
With a large spoon, scoop out the coconut meat. If necessary, clean the coconut meat by trimming off any hard or woody pieces of the shell.
With a sharp knife, cut the cleaned coconut meat into 1 x ½-inch (2 ½ cm x 1 ¼ cm) strips.