When my parents launched a supermarket concession in Manila to sell kakanin (Filipino specialties), my mother learned how to make maja blanca, a coconut milk pudding. Until that business was established I had never taken kakanin seriously and wasn’t the least bit interested in how they were made. I was, after all, in high school and blissfully unaware. However, those treats and delights made their way into our daily lives and onto our holiday tables, and I eventually took over managing the concession. Now that I’m older and living far from Manila, little bites of kakanin, like maja blanca, bring me back home for a quick virtual visit.
1 14.5-oz can coconut milk
1¼ C water
½ C sugar or sugar substitute
½ C cornstarch
Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan or similar serving container with vegetable oil.
Dissolve the cornstarch in ½ C water. Set aside.
Combine 1¼ C coconut milk, ¾ C water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Stir and add the cornstarch mixture. Stir the pudding stir constantly until thick. Bring the mixture back to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it quickly into the serving container. Push the mixture into the corners and smooth it over with a spatula. Allow it to cool and set.
Place the remaining coconut milk into a saucepan. Reduce the liquid over medium heat, stirring constantly, scraping the fond off the bottom of the pan and breaking up the gelled milk into small bits. Remove from heat when the coconut oil has rendered and the milk bits are brown. Drizzle the oil and milk bits over the cooled pudding.
Variations: You may opt to add ½ to 1 C of any of the following canned or pre-prepared products to the coconut milk mixture before the cornstarch mixture: whole kernel corn (drained), crushed pineapple, fruit cocktail (drained), lychees, chopped jackfruit, chopped cashews, or roasted dessicated coconut. The pudding, with its mild coconut flavor, is a relatively neutral flavor canvas for your imagination.
This recipe is my entry in the monthly sharing forum of the Kulinarya Cooking Club, comprised of Filipino food enthusiasts and cooks worldwide. The photo is borrowed from http://www.latestrecipes.net because I failed to take a good photo when I cooked this dish for Christmas Day dinner.
Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture & its colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.