Monday, December 27, 2010

Sea Coconuts

Whenever I am at the grocery store and see something and I don't know what it is, I try and ask a person... sometimes I don't get any help but most of the time the person will try to explain what the item is and how it is cooked. The other day I was at Family Store and saw a package of "Sea Coconut" in the cooler section between the vegetables and fruits for 5.50 RM for the package. So I asked the Chinese woman next to me how to cook them or eat them. She told me I had to boil them in a pot of water and that they were sweet. So I took the Sea Coconuts with me to give them a try hoping I would find a recipe online.

Later the woman who told me about the sea coconuts found me in the store and handed me this package of Lo Han Kuo and told me to dump the package in the pot with the sea coconuts while I cooked them. So I bought the Lo Han Kuo too.

At home I found a few recipes for Sea Coconuts online all with the same basic recipe... put the items in the pot and boil for 45 minutes (example here). Since I didnt have any dates I added a few raisins hoping that would work.

When it was cooked I realized that R and I had already tried this dessert before when we were at our favorite Chinese restaurant Restoran Oversea in Kuala Lumpur. After our meal one time, the owner brought over this special dish as a gift to us... when we asked what it was he wasn't able to give us the English name. Well, we didn't really like it at Oversea and even though mine tasted nearly the same, we didn't care for it at home either. Far more interesting than the taste of the dessert is the history of Sea Coconuts or Coco de Mer here and the little known Lo Han Kuo sugar substitute (Siraitia grosvenorii) which really is sweet and a nice taste (more info here).

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