Aaahhh first day of Spring. Thank you Lord!
Faikakai is a sweet Tongan delicacy usually reserved for special occasions and days of feasting so what better treat to serve up today marking the arrival of my favourite time of year.
The hero of this lovely sweet dish is the beautiful coconut syrup. Made simply by melting raw sugar and adding coconut cream to the hot sugar so that it caramelises the coconut cream and develops the most amazing dark caramel coconut flavoured sauce. Drizzle this stuff on anything…dumplings, pancakes, porridge and even as a spread on toast, it is seriously good. Admittedly making the syrup (lolo) can be a bit tricky to master but boy is it worth it. Trust me it’s good sauce.
Admittedly the dumplings are a bit of an excuse to have the sauce and fortunately aren’t overly complicated to make. Faikakai topai is simply a flour dough dumpling dropped into hot water to cook then diced to serve with delicious coconut sauce. There are other even more delicious varieties on the dough dumpling including my favourite which is made with baked breadfruit and coconut cream (Faikakai Mei). I’ve used coconut cream to make my dough dumplings for this recipe but feel free to simply use water or standard milk. Also try a tablespoon of dessicated coconut or grate some butter into the dough for a bit of variety.
- 2 cups raw sugar
- 2 cups of coconut cream (thick consistency eg. Kara)
- 4 cups of plain flour
- 4 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 cup of coconut cream
- 2 - 2 1/2 cups of water
- Pot of water to cook
- Heat a large pot half filled with water and bring to the boil then reduce to gentle simmer.
- In the meantime make coconut sauce. Using a medium saucepan, gently heat the sugar on medium high heat, stirring, until it begins to melt. Take care not to burn the sugar by stirring the sides to avoid heat spots. Once the sugar starts to melt, reduce the heat slightly, then begin to drizzle about a tablespoon of coconut cream into the sugar mixture at a time, stirring it in well taking care not to burn yourself from the steam as the cream hits the sugar. Continue stirring in all of the cream until a thick golden coloured caramel develops. Remove from the heat and strain any hard bits of sugar and allow the sauce to cool slightly.
- To make the dough, sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl. Add coconut cream and water and mix until just combined. The dough should be fairly dry although wet enough to come away from the side of the bowl easily. Wet a tablespoon and scoop spoonfuls of dough and careful place spoon into the simmering water until the dough comes away easily into the water. Continue to spoon the dough into the water until the pot is full (remembering that the dough balls will puff up slightly once cooked.) Place lid over the pot and allow the dough balls to steam and cook gently for about 12-15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove dough from the pot onto a platter. Cut open to test if cooked through. Whilst warm, dice dough balls into small pieces. Pour over coconut sauce and serve.
- To keep the dough light and airy, try not to over mix the dough and cook it on a gentle simmer with the lid on so it steams.
- Parcel up extras with a little foil to gift 🙂