Kandy’s Kitchen Kokonus

With Kandy Ta­m­a­gushiku

Island Life - - Tropical Delights -

The co­conut is pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant and sub­stan­tial source of food and ma­te­ri­als in Van­u­atu and many other trop­i­cal is­lands. Ev­ery part of the co­conut tree can be used, whether for food, to make uten­sils or as build­ing ma­te­ri­als. This gift of na­ture has ab­so­lutely zero waste. Re­gard­ing its nu­tri­tional value, there have been many de­bates on whether or not co­conut is good for you. Clas­si­fied as a sat­u­rated fat, to me, it is nat­u­ral, or­ganic, es­sen­tial in Van­u­atu and full of good­ness! To give an over­view of the uses of the co­conut tree in the is­lands, lets start with the trunk. This is a soft wood, but it can be used as a build­ing ma­te­rial to make houses, fences, posts and fur­ni­ture. Mov­ing up to the leaves, these can be wo­ven to make bas­kets, fans and

nd mats. The in­ner core of the leaf is hard, and once stripped of the green leaves, the long, thin hard cores are col­lected to make is­land brooms. The heart of the co­conut tree is at the top of the tree. It is about one me­tre long and you can only eat about 30-60cm of it. Its most pop­u­lar recipe is the ‘mil­lion­aire’s salad’ so called be­cause you need to cut down a whole co­conut tree for that one piece, ‘the heart’. Mov­ing to the nut, co­conuts can be eaten through their three dif­fer­ent stages. The first stage is the green co­conut. This is still young and sweet. The husk is green, the flesh is soft and the wa­ter is sweet. These are drink­ing co­conuts and they are de­li­cious. The next stage is the dry co­conut. By this time the husk has dried up and turned brown. The flesh is hard and the wa­ter is not so sweet, but still drink­able. At this stage, co­conuts are used to make co­conut cream, soaps, oils, co­pra and fuel. The last stage is the sprout­ing co­conut – ‘Navara’. The co­conut has fallen to the ground and de­vel­oped roots that are clutch­ing to the earth. On the top, a green stalk is start­ing to flour­ish into another co­conut tree. In the in­side, the co­conut flesh has be­come hard and por­ous and de­creased in size and the wa­ter has turned into what we call ‘Navara’. It is like a co­conut marsh­mal­low and it is ed­i­ble. This can be eaten as a snack. I like to make a salad with it us­ing co­conut oil, crispy gar­lic and onions, fresh co­rian­der and cumin seeds. Once the co­conut has been eaten, there is still the shell, which can be made into drink­ing ves­sels or bowls. The husks of the co­conut are used to start fires and to plant or­chids. In is­land life noth­ing is wasted. It is a re­fresh­ing con­cept that ev­ery­one should prac­tice. To­day I had six dry co­conuts. I grated five and sliced one. With the sliced co­conut, I made a great snack, ‘roasted and salted’ co­conut. With the grated co­conuts, I made co­conut lol­lies, co­conut cream, co­conut oil and dried co­conut for bak­ing.

Co­conut Cream

To grate the co­conut, you will need a plank of wood and a ser­rated blade that you can find in most is­land shops. They cost about 200vt. You will also need a short bush knife. Cut the dry co­conut in half and keep the wa­ter in a sep­a­rate bowl. Start grat­ing the co­conut us­ing the blade into a sep­a­rate bowl un­til com­plete. In a sep­a­rate bowl, mix to­gether the grated co­conut and the co­conut wa­ter, mix­ing well for about a minute. Us­ing your hands, squeeze the cream into another bowl, leav­ing the ‘Makas’ (flesh) sep­a­rate. Squeeze un­til all the wa­ter is out of the grated co­conut flesh. That is co­conut cream.

roasted Co­conut

Place the leftover grated flesh in a flat oven tray and roast un­til golden brown. The won­der­ful trop­i­cal is­land smell will carry out into the house and you will feel truly in par­adise; I feel as though I was in Santo again! You can use the roasted co­conut for bak­ing cakes, muffins, slices and to in­cor­po­rate in many other dishes.

Co­conut lol­lies

To make the lol­lies, you will need 350 grams of sugar. Melt the sugar at low heat in a heavy based pan un­til it be­comes caramel. As soon as it is caramel, add 250ml of co­conut cream and stir un­til well com­bined. Let it cook for about one minute. Add some of the grated flesh, about a ¼ cup, to the mix to give it tex­ture. Let the mix cool down un­til it is nearly set. Once cooled, take a tea­spoon full in your hand, roll it into balls and place on a tray to let it set. You can then coat some with the roasted co­conut. Re­mem­ber to let it cool down be­fore you touch it with your bare hands, it is very hot!

Co­conut oil

To make oil from the co­conut cream, let the cream sit overnight so the cream sep­a­rates from the wa­ter. Scoop the cream out into another pot and bring the cream to the boil. When it boils, the cream will sep­a­rate from the oil and you can then scoop the re­main­ing cream off from your now, co­conut oil. Magic!

i steamed eggs in­gre­di­ents

i

ndi

2 Whole Eggs ½ tea­spoon Saki ½ Te­spoon Mirin i 60 ml wa­ter i Rose Rock Salt & Ground Pep­per i 2 espresso spoon Goose Liver Pate.

Kandy’s Kitchen range of deli prod­ucts is avail­able at Li­ba­tion, on Nam­batu and at Or­ganic Par­adise in the Van­u­atu Hand­i­craft Mar­kets. For cater­ing and other info, con­tact Kandy on info@kandys-kitchen.com, Ph +678 7735602, www.kandys-kitchen.com.

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