In eastern Venezuela and other regions of the country, traditional sweets are a seal of quality and regionalist letter of introduction. In fact, there are localities and picturesque villages that are very popular for the elaboration and commercialization of typical sweets. In Los Arroyos, a cheerful town with an agricultural culture, is a gastronomic example of various dishes and traditional sweets, my family has a legacy of candy making whose main raw material is coconut.
So from my mother I learned how to prepare delicacies, balls, nougat, marzipan and the delicious coconut rice; a delicious sweet made with coconut, rice, cinnamon in shell, star anise and papelon. Depending on the areas and tastes, some ingredients may vary, among them paper or aromatic spices, which we colloquially call seasonings. In my case I used the following.
- 700 grams of rice (0.5 broken grains)
- 600 grams of panela (sugar cane)
- Two dried coconuts
- 15 grams of cinnamon
- 10 grams of star anise
- 2.3 litres of drinking water
- Pinch of salt
Materials and equipment
- 5 litres boiler
The coconut pulp is extracted and cut.
Add the shredded coconut to the water and mix well until you have a homogeneous substance. In this process, the aim is to extract the greatest amount and concentration of fat contained in the coconut milk.
The casting is done to retain the coconut particles and separate them from the vegetable milk substance that will be taken to the kitchen.
The coconut particles can be used as organic fertilizer or poultry feed.
The coconut milk is placed on a low heat; the aromatic spices and a pinch of salt are added.
With the paper cut into pieces, add it when the temperature is estimated between 60 °C and 70 °C so that it dissolves.
At this stage, we try to obtain a combination of flavours from the mixture of aromatic spices, coconut concentrate and sugar cane-based papelón criollo.
Stir it keeping the fire low; as the paper dissolves the homogeneity will be lost and the mixture will have a light brown colour with darker traces. At this point the taste is characteristic.
When boiling the mixture and achieving a moderate viscosity, the rice is added, after washing and draining.
Stir occasionally to maintain firmness and even texture as the mixture sets.
The picture shows my enthusiasm and joy because the final moment of the cooking is approaching. Some people like dry coconut rice with loose grains; I prefer it with a little bit of mellow and loose 😋
And after a couple of hours of enthusiastic work, I can enjoy the exquisite taste of quarantined coconut rice...