Our lives and coconuts are entwined with each other with such a deep bond. This unbreakable bond with the goodness of coconuts is not only been used for Sri Lankan cuisines but this versatile coconut tree is directly linked with the day today lives of the people in the country . Frankly Every part of this very important versatile coconut tree is been used by our people.This village called Dankotuwa that we live is located in Sri Lanka’s bountifully thriving coconut triangle zone. I hardly pass a day without the glimpse of coconut trees everywhere I see since I was born.
Usually once a month I make desiccated coconut, but not to preserve them. It’s to be used for variety of cuisines as and when I need the desiccated coconut. I always make sure to make only the required quantity because Sri Lanka doesn’t use any methods to preserve various food items for long periods of 6 months to a year or so like most of the other countries in the world practice. Even though we have our own traditional methods to do so, we don’t use those methods very often. I think the main reason is because that our country doesn’t have long severe winters or droughts. I always use desiccated coconuts for what ever the special dish that I make.
Uncle Siriwardena has a separate small business of collecting coconuts apart from his job. When we pluck coconuts in our lands, grandmother gives our coconuts also to uncle Siriwardena. He buys all the coconuts from other coconut land owners as well. Then what he does is , he stack all the coconuts until they are dry, then he get their husks removed and sell the coconuts to coconut oil export companies and sell the husks to coir for making of brooms and ropes and for organic fertiliser companies. Because of his business his land is always filled with large number of coconuts.
Usually the best coconuts for making desiccated coconuts are dried nuts. I can remember grandmother always brought coconuts from Uncle Siriwardena’s collection to make desiccated coconut in return grandmother sends sweets made out of the dried them and an unusual coconut sambol to uncle Siriwardena. As of now, He still fancy that coconut sambol. On some occasions when we meet him, he used to tell me that he has well sun-dried coconuts and of course then we know that is an indication of uncle Siriwardenas desire for that special coconut sambol.
I think it’s enough of my talking as I almost forgot to tell you about how I make the desiccated coconut. Normally, the flesh of the coconut gets separated from the shell easily. But for more convenience I burn the shell side for few minutes on a high flame. Afterwards It’s easy actually because the flesh of the coconut get separated very easily from the shell. Then I take a damp cloth and wipe the black burnt charcoal traces in the white flesh and clean the flesh by removing the hard skin that covers the white flesh. Then I pound the white coconut flesh using a mortar and pestle and then get them more dry under a medium heat for a longer period. Of course the flesh has to be turn sides under that heating process. Since I took very dry coconuts, it didn’t take much time at all to dry them under the flame.
I never thought that the coconut sweet which I made with condensed milk, cardamom and desiccated coconut will come out so nicely in very beautiful two layers of colours and with such good taste. The red color that I extracted from the hibiscus flowers gave such beautiful pink color to the sweets. I made a parcel with some toffees to be sent to my elder auntys house as well. Then my next treat was that I made a steam cake with desiccated coconuts. When mixed the dark blue color of the butterfly pea flower extract with the egg yolks, it gave a very eye pleasing peacock blue color to the cake. I specifically made that cake to treat my Brother and Brother Lahiru who husked the coconuts. Yes both of them helped me in making the desiccated coconuts too but as always our brother dear never finish anything without making a scenario! Thats my Brother!
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Well dried coconuts are must when making Desiccated Coconut and sweets & sambols
乡村烹饪 cuisine de village गाँव का खाना बनाना cucina del villaggio طبخ القرية Dorfkochen 村の料理 dorp koken 마을 요리 pagluluto ng nayon деревенская кухня cozinha da vila ഗ്രാമീണ പാചകം cocina del pueblo গ্রাম রান্না vesnické vaření landsby madlavning ចម្អិនអាហារតាមភូមិ kylän ruoanlaitto गाउँ खाना पकाउने masakan desa கிராம சமையல் masakan kampung หมู่บ้านทำอาหาร gotowanie na wsi köy pişirme làng nấu ăn ရွာချက်ပြုတ် μαγειρική στο χωριό villa coctione
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