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Old 07-26-2018, 11:13 AM   #1
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Palapa Problems

While trolling for recipes, I came across a particularly intriguing one for a condiment called palapa. It is apparently common in the Phillipines, and I’d love to try it, but I’ve got two problems with the ingredients.

1 fresh coconut
16 red Thai chiles
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
¼ cup vegetable oil
1½ heads of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, trimmed, chopped
6 makrut lime leaves, thinly sliced, or 1½ teaspoons finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt

Problem #1) Fresh coconut? I barely have the strength to open a car door, and they expect me to go whacking and chopping like some kind of deranged kitchen ninja. Doesn’t anyone anywhere sell fresh shredded coconut meat? Or if not fresh, frozen? The reason the recipe calls for fresh grated coconut is because you’re supposed to slowly toast it for 15 to 20 minutes in a dry wok or cast iron skillet. Dried coconut would conceivably turn to ash in about two minutes.

Problem #2) Sixteen Thai chiles??? I put a half a Serrano, seeded, de-ribbed, and finely minced into about four cups of salad, and thought “Aren’t Serrano chiles supposed to be on the mild side?” My tolerance for spicy has really diminished over the past few years! No way my tongue or soft palate could withstand the heat of sixteen Thai chiles. So is there a chili with less heat (a lot less heat) than a Thai, but still full of flavor? I’ll add maybe one Thai chili to it for authenticity’s sake. (Dear Lord Moses, I’m turning into my father! If you looked at a plate while saying the word “Tabasco,” he would declare the dish too “sharp.”)

What say you, DCers?

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Old 07-26-2018, 11:19 AM   #2
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I do not know about fresh coconut, but you could always toast your dried coconut in the oven. I normally do 325˚F, stirring every couple of minutes.

The thai chilis, that does seem like a lot for a westerner without a heat tolerance. I would suggest making it with one, tasting it, and adding as many as you can handle. Remember that this a condiment. Sriracha sauce is very hot by it self but if it goes in something else, or on the side, it isn't too bad.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:22 AM   #3
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1. The recipe calls for fresh grated coconut because that's what people had before refrigeration was common. Then they toasted it when they were ready to make the dish. Just use dried toasted coconut and skip the toasting step.

2. Reduce the number of chiles to however many you can tolerate. Or use one habañero. Or one jalapeño. Whatever you want. There's no law that says you have to follow a recipe to the letter.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:29 AM   #4
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Fresh coconut can be a challenge but we'd still get one every once in a while when the kids were little to show them coconuts, the coconut water inside and the flesh, to munch on.


We'd put on safety glasses and take it out the garage (after draining the water), hit it with a hammer until it broke into pieces. Then pry out the white flesh. Try not to slice open your hand while prying out the flesh.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:32 AM   #5
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Now there's a recipe I would definitely pass on and simply say "isn't that interesting?"

Not only is the fresh coconut and 16 chili's out of the question for me, but what the heck are makrut lime leaves, and more than that, I don't even care.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
Now there's a recipe I would definitely pass on and simply say "isn't that interesting?"

Not only is the fresh coconut and 16 chili's out of the question for me, but what the heck are makrut lime leaves, and more than that, I don't even care.
I wondered about the lime leaves too, but seeing how the recipe offers the substitution of lime zest, I’m okay with it.
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Old 07-26-2018, 11:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
1. The recipe calls for fresh grated coconut because that's what people had before refrigeration was common. Then they toasted it when they were ready to make the dish. Just use dried toasted coconut and skip the toasting step.

2. Reduce the number of chiles to however many you can tolerate. Or use one habañero. Or one jalapeño. Whatever you want. There's no law that says you have to follow a recipe to the letter.
Apparently, according to the article that accompanies the recipe:

Quote:
First step, toasting the shredded coconut, which takes longer when it is fresh but yields crispy-chewy strands that get golden as they toast in their own oil without needing any extra fat.
It’s a pretty good article btw. You can find it at Bon Apetit, along with the full recipe
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:08 PM   #8
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Interesting. To me, palapa has always meant only one thing:
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustJoel View Post
Apparently, according to the article that accompanies the recipe:



It’s a pretty good article btw. You can find it at Bon Apetit, along with the full recipe
Coconut oil is an unhealthy fat anyway, so I can't see how it makes any difference.
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Old 07-26-2018, 12:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayelle View Post
Now there's a recipe I would definitely pass on and simply say "isn't that interesting?"

Not only is the fresh coconut and 16 chili's out of the question for me, but what the heck are makrut lime leaves, and more than that, I don't even care.
It's kaffir lime leaves. Apparently kaffir is a derogatory term, so some are using the actual name of the fruit - makrut - instead.

https://modernfarmer.com/2014/07/getting-rid-k-word/
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