Koko alaisa, sometimes spelled koko araisa, is this very yummy Samoan dessert, a sort of chocolate-coconut rice pudding that uses a special kind of freeze-dried cocoa. I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I made it for my Global Dinners group right before I left for Australia, and when I saw we had some leftover white rice the other day, as well as some leftover koko, it was but the work of a moment to pick up some coconut cream and make it again this afternoon…and, of course, to blog the whole thing for your pudding-making pleasure.
Okay, first get your koko samoa, and for heaven’s sake take a better picture of it when you do.
My friend Shirley gave me this particular koko, but I think you can get it in Pacific grocery stores…those of you who don’t live down the street from a Pacific grocery store, you may be out of luck. The real stuff, apparently, has the little striations from it that come from the plastic cup mold that’s used to form the koko. Sort of like a popsicle.
It’s amazing because there are still little nibs of cacao bean or whatever in it and it makes the whole house smell fantastic when you throw it in the rice. You can try substituting dark bitter cocoa powder (no Hershey’s, Americans!) or bar chocolate, but I don’t know if it will be as intoxicatingly delicious.
Okay, so grate up the koko on a grater, which I don’t have a picture of since it’s hard to grate and hold a camera at the same time. You want like a cup or a cup and a half–depending on how koko-y you like it, of course. I happen to like it really koko-y because it is awesome. Meanwhile, you’ve put your white rice on to boil.
Man, I can’t believe I took a picture of boiling rice but didn’t get the grating action in. Sigh. When the rice is soft but still a little soupy, stir in your coconut cream.
The first time I made it I used coconut cream, as pictured here, but today when I made it I just used regular coconut milk. Either way works. You know what doesn’t work, though? Throwing in a little dessicated coconut that you have leftover from when you made ANZAC bickies. It’s just too weird, trust me.
Okay, anyway. So then you throw in your grated koko.
I didn’t take a picture of it…because the only thing worse than photographic evidence of my ability to boil rice is that showcasing my ability to measure sugar…but at this stage add as much sugar as you like along with the koko. It’s pretty bitter stuff so you might want more sugar than you’d think; I used a cup and a quarter for two cups of uncooked rice, I think. You just have to taste as you go. Koko alaisa is sort of freestyle that way.
And then you just stir it all together…
…and you’re done!
It doesn’t look like much, I admit, but it’s super sweet and yummy and easy to eat–it’s even vegan!–and is good hot or cold and everyone loves it and it’s a great thing to bring to potlucks. You should totally make it right this minute—I guarantee it will improve your day immensely.