Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Secret of Haupia (Hawaiian coconut "stiff" pudding)

I have been MIA for a few weeks. I went back to the Island. I was not able to make a trip back last year. I missed my home state. I was glad I finally was able to return. Weather was not the best - rain, hail, water sprout, then tornado! It didn't really matter. I was back to my Island home.

While I was away, my sister asked me for my recipe to make haupia for a baby shower. Haupia is a traditional Hawaiian coconut dessert for special occasions. Haupia used to be make with arrowroot, today we use cornstarch as the thickener. Haupia can be very simple, just coconut milk, sugar and corn starch. However it can be tricky. The issue is something time the pudding will not set and you will ended up with "soup". I am going to share my secret with you.
1 - Don't overuse cornstarch. It will make it taste horrible
2 - The secret is: use frozen coconut milk. The canned coconut milk is too thin. It does not work.
Now, you have my secret
Frozen coconut milk is usually available in Asia grocery store. Please make sure you purchase the coconut milk and not the coconut gel.

So... here is the recipe, please note that I am making a double recipe here.

Hawaiian Haupia (coconut pudding)
1 1lb bag frozen coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup water
In a small bowl, whisk corn starch with 3/4 cup water, set aside
In a medium pan, combine frozen coconut milk with sugar over med low heat till sugar completely dissolved. Slowly bring to a boil
Continuous to stir, add cornstarch mixture.
Bring to a full boil over med heat. Stir constantly till the pudding thickened and coat the back of the spoon.
Lower heat and continue to stir till you have a smooth texture and the pudding is shiny
Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a 8x8 pan (I use a 9x13 pan for a double recipe)
Even the top
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding.
Refridguate till cold. The pudding will set
Cut into small squares and serve! To add a little tropical touch, try placing the pudding square on Ti leaves or banana leave!