Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kalamay with Buko

The smell of cooking caramel and coconut engulfed my kitchen as I mix the contents of my wok. I have been on it for more than an hour now,  cooking, stirring , sweating and watching how a thin,  white solution made of coconut milk and powdered glutinous flour transforms into this gooey, thick , aromatic and delectable treat. Making Kalamay is laborious. Those who actually cooked it , could attest to that. Maybe that's the reason why, many would rather buy it from stores  than cook it from scratch at home. Often packed  in  coconut shells, this Filipino sweet is sold even at some local airports back home and  makes fabulous  but cheap and very much welcome pasalubong ( Filipino tradition of a homecoming gift)  . 

A good friend of mine is celebrating her birthday and is inviting me for lunch. I could have bought a box of chocolate but I know this will please her much, much more. She and her family love Kalamay , after all.  Being far from our country, Filipinos often use foods to fight whatever melancholies our hearts feel. Foods and karaoke, actually. Well, foods, karaoke and Pinoy soppy teleserye to be exact. My friend was quite happy with my simple yet very personal gift. The shimmer of her eyeballs speaks volume , if not her salivating maw. She couldn't just stop eating it. ''Taste like home!'', she says, many times. I was more than glad. Happy birthday Jassy!

Cooked with love...

I put young coconut meat in this recipe. It turned way better than I expected. Everybody who have tried it, actually liked it. Even my German husband, FF!  I guess, I will be ditching tins  of Christmas cookies this year and will be giving kalamay in jars instead. Nifty idea, don't you think?


For latik: 
250 ml coconut milk

For Kalamay:

800 ml coconut milk
200 ml water
200 g ground glutinous rice
100 g palm sugar
250 g muscovado or brown sugar
1 cup  coconut meat, cut into thin strips

Cooking Procedures:

1. Make latik. Pour coconut milk in  a pan. A non stick one will make your life easier, so don't be a masochist and use one. Bring coconut milk into a boil . You. Shall .Not. Stiiiiir. Voice ringing like Gandalf here. Let it cook until it curdles . Once oil separates, carefully scrape  off latik crumbles from the pan. 

 2. Once latik is cooked, it should be crumbly and caramel brown, like the picture above. Carefully take latik out from the pan and dry excess oil using a paper towel. You can save the coconut oil and use it to grease your Kalamay container/ serving dish.

3. Combine coconut milk , water and ground glutinous rice flour. Use a whisk to dissolve powder. Mass must  be homogeneous. Add in coconut meat.

4. Put mixture in a pan/ wok, preferably non stick. Bring mixture to a boil. Keep stirring. Curl those biceps! Flex those muscles! The mixtures curdles as it cooks until it becomes one sticky mess  mass. Just keep on stirring. Let mixture cook for about 30 minutes.

5. Stir in  sugar. Muscovado gives deeper and richer colour  and more intensive flavour . Use it if you could get your paws on it. Sugar liquefies as it cooks. Turn the heat to medium low and keep cooking and stirring for another 30-40 minutes. I told you soooo.

7. Brush serving plate with coconut oil ( from cooked latik) and spread Kalamay over it. Let it cool and sprinkle latik on top . Pat yourself on the back for doing a good but undeniably  hard work and put the calories you've lost while cooking on, one sticky spoonful at a time. Enjoy your reward and share those calories to your  friends or better yet, your foes!

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