Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kokotende

Kokotende



The crisp days of Fall waken my creative senses. More than any time of the year, Fall is when I talk, think and dream about recipes. Listening to the wheels of the passing cars this Sunday in my neighbourhood as they drove over the dry fallen leaves made me crave for something crunchy. Whatever it was had to be sweet as well. Then I remembered the swirly, golden, sugar-coated beauties called "Kokotende" that my mom would make as I was growing up in Kenya. As slowly as my eyes had opened that morning, a smile crept across my face as I quickly got ready and headed for the kitchen. The thought of taking the first crunchy bite and exposing the pillowy interior as I drank my hot spiced chai with it was like music to my ears. In the spirit of all things made of sugar and spice,I will share the recipe with you :)
"Kokwa Za Tende" or "Kokotende" are treats that can be found in Zanzibar and the Kenyan Coast. When loosely translated, "Kokwa Za Tende" means "the seeds of a date". It is a cross between a cookie and a doughnut and is very delicious! It can be eaten as a snack, with tea or coffee or any soft drink. When stored in an air-tight container, they can keep for up to one week.
I have included step-by-step instructions (with pictures) of how to make these swirls of goodness :)
You could also visit my YouTube channel to view the video of how to make them


INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour
4 tbsp. fine semolina (Suji/ Farina)
½ tsp. cardamom powder
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. melted butter (unsalted)
3/4 cup-1 cup coconut milk
pinch of salt (I used Kosher salt)
2 Cups Canola/ vegetable oil for frying

***Special Equipment-Afro comb (can be found at a beauty supply store e.g Sally's for less than $1). ***



INSTRUCTIONS


Mix together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Then add the melted butter and coconut milk. Knead all the ingredients to a dough that does not stick to your hands, but is still pliable. Break up the dough into walnut-sized balls. Flatten the balls between the palm of your hands, forming a disk. Press the disc on an Afro comb/ pique (as shown in the video) and slowly begin to roll the disc away from you (make sure you apply some pressure). The dough will take on the shape of rotini pasta owing to the ridges on the comb. If you cannot find this kind of comb, make smaller balls out of the dough and use the back of a fork to do the job. In the meantime, on medium-high heat, heat up some odor-free oil e.g canola or vegetable oil for frying the kokotendes. The oil will be ready to fry the kokotendes once the tip of a wooden spoon is inserted in the oil and the edges of the spoon begin to sizzle. If your oil is not hot enough, your kokotendes will be doughy on the inside. Be careful not to overheat your oil as this will result in kokotendes that appear cooked on the outside, but the inside will be doughy/mushy : (. Reduce the temperature to medium and fry until the kokotendes are golden and crispy (as they cook, stir the kokotendes in the hot oil with your skimmer). Use the skimmer to remove the cooked kokotendes from the oil into a prepared plate that is covered with kitchen towels to absorb any excess cooking oil. Drain and set aside to let them cool as you prepare the syrup you will use to coat them (Sheera).The recipe for the coating follows:

INGREDIENTS FOR THE SHEERA:


½ cup water
1 cup sugar
3 drops of vanilla/ rose water/ orange-blossom water(I prefer a mix of vanilla and rose water)
pinch of cardamom powder (1/4 tspn)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottom pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. DO NOT stir this mixture as it will crystallize! Gently lift the pan off the stove and twirl the mixture around frequently until it has a thick and sticky  consistency.
Place the cooled kokotendes in a container that has a lid. Slowly drizzle the sheera (syrup) over the kokotendes, cover the container with a lid and shake until all the kokotendes are coated with the syrup. Spread the coated kokotendes on a flat tray to give the syrup some time to thicken and cool on the goodies. They are now ready to eat. Enjoy!
PS: I get my spices and specialty flours at Bombay Spices
4315 Abbots Bridge RD.,
Duluth, GA., 30097
770-813-1225
bombayspices@hotmail.com
If you do not live in Atlanta, you can get the cardamom and Semolina online. Just Google it baby!
 
Break up the dough into walnut-sized balls.


Flatten the balls between the palm of your hands, forming a disk.


Press the disc on an Afro comb/ pique (make sure you apply some pressure).

   slowly begin to roll the disc away from you.  




The dough will take on the shape of rotini pasta owing to the ridges on the comb. If you cannot find this kind of comb, make smaller balls out of the dough and use the back of a fork to do the job.


In the meantime, on medium-high heat, heat up some odor-free oil e.g canola or vegetable oil for frying the kokotendes. The oil will be ready to fry the kokotendes once the tip of a wooden spoon is inserted in the oil and the edges of the spoon begin to sizzle. If your oil is not hot enough, your kokotendes will be doughy on the inside. Be careful not to overheat your oil as this will result in kokotendes that appear cooked on the outside, but the inside will be doughy/mushy : (. Reduce the temperature to medium and fry until the kokotendes are golden and crispy. Use a skimmer to remove the cooked kokotendes from the oil into a prepared plate that is covered with kitchen towels to absorb any excess cooking oil. Drain and set aside to let them cool as you prepare the syrup you will use to coat them (Sheera).  



These are the freshly coated kokotende beckoning to you. Why don't you give them a try? Enjoy them now and Zumba your guilt away later. Ahem! Did I just say that out loud? Hot cup of chai, check. Fresh plate of kokotendes,check. Aaah...heaven!