Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brazilian Coconut Tamales (Pamonhas)

I did as the authors suggested and used fresh corn, fresh shredded coconut, and freshly pressed coconut milk to get a taste of pamonhas at their best.  I also used unrefined sugar (Rapadura) for a smooth caramel flavor.  
I got the corn from the farmer's market, cut off the kernels and saved the husks.  I bought a coconut at Whole Foods that turned out to be rotten on the inside.  I've never had a rotten coconut before!  It was very sad.  So I bought another coconut and cracked it open, laboriously separated all of the meat from the shell (nearly cutting off all of my fingers in the process), cleaned it with a vegetable peeler, and shredded it in the food processor.  I used some freshly shredded coconut for the recipe and the rest to make coconut milk.  I put some of the extra coconut milk in my oatmeal the next day to keep things interesting.
When mixed with a little cornmeal, sugar, and butter, the corn-coconut batter ended up pretty sloppy and I had a very hard time getting it to stay in the husks long enough to tie them up.  They steamed for thirty minutes.  The cooked pamonhas have a texture kind of like corn grits, only thicker and creamier, with the sweet and soft flavors of corn, coconut and caramel mingling beautifully.

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