MALAYSIAN COCONUT SNOW
By Lynn Kee
I am from Malaysia, where we love to eat tasty little cakes called "kuihs" that represent our multi-ethnic cultures. Kuihs are not like the cakes made here in the states, but are usually bite sized sweet treats made from many of Malaysia's tropical fruit and herbs. As a kid I would go to our neighborhood farmer's market where there would be a Kuih stand selling an array of colorful delicious treats. One of my favorites is Kuih Dadar, green little crepe-like pancake parcels filled with sweet coconut filling. Coconut is in many of Malaysia's desserts and as a child my best memories are of my dad climbing our coconut tree in the backyard to get us some fresh coconuts. Fresh coconut water and flesh from a real coconut off the tree is amazing! My mom uses coconut to cook and bake with all the time and my love for cooking comes from her.
As a tribute to my childhood in Malaysia and my mother's baking, I made the sweet coconut filling called "Inti" found in many of the Malaysian Kuihs, which my fiance Jay named Malaysian Coconut Snow for the Jam contest!
Makes about 1 cup.
- 150g Gula Melaka** (Palm Sugar), roughly chopped
(1/2 cup, typically 2 cylinder blocks)
- 50g (1/4 cup) light or dark brown sugar
(optional, you can leave out if you prefer less sweet)
- 75ml (5 tablespoons) water
- 1 pandanus leaf*** (optional)
- 100g (1 cup) grated fresh coconut
(Freshly grated is the best, but frozen or dried can be used)
- Place palm sugar, brown sugar and water in saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid starts to thicken and becomes syrupy.
- Add coconut and pandanus leaf. Continue cooking over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until the coconut mixture is thick and glossy.
- Cool, remove pandanus leaf, and then use as desired (on pancakes, ice cream, cakes, toast, etc).
Keeps well in a covered container in the fridge.
**Gula Melaka (Malacca Sugar)/Palm Sugar is a type of sugar made from the sap of Palm trees. It is sweet like brown sugar and has a similar taste to molasses. I used Gula Melaka that is from Malaysia, but you may be able to find this in Asian Grocery stores or Whole Foods. Usually it comes in brown round cylinder blocks because the sap is poured into bamboo tubes to solidify, but can be found loose in containers or bags. The darker the sugar, the more sweet and fragrant it is. Gula Melaka is used in many Malaysian desserts as a sweetener or made into a syrup.
Note: this is not the same as Coconut Sugar, which is called Coconut Palm Sugar.
***Pandanus leaf is a long, slender, blade-like green leaf of the pandanus palm. It has a fresh floral fragrance and is used to perfume desserts and rice dishes. It can be pounded up to extract the juice, which is used as natural flavor and food coloring in different desserts, such as the green crepe pancake in Kuih Dadar. Pandanus leaf can be found frozen in the Asian grocery store, or fresh from your garden if you grow it (like my Mom does!).