With a shopping basket in one hand, and a short grocery list in the other, I was skipping (ok, I was walking, but there was a lilt in my step) up and down the aisles of my local Filipino grocery store. As I stopped to mentally check off each item on my list, something squatting on the store floor caught my attention.
“Psssst. Hoy!” the object of interest seemed to simultaneously shout and whisper to me.
Normally, whenever the words “Psssst. Hoy!” are shouted/whispered (shoutspered?) at me, I usually duck and cover and/or run as I’ve probably done something wrong. But that’s another story for another time. I digress.
This time however, I couldn’t help but to kneel down and take a closer look at what appeared to be a mini-skateboard with short wooden stumps in place of wheels. Strange, that. Stranger still was that the nose of the board was fitted with a rather nasty-looking serrated spur.
After picking up the menacing looking device, I immediately recalled some childhood memory of my Great Aunt (my grandmother’s sister) using this contraption in the kitchen.
What exactly is this thing, you ask?
It’s a Kabayo, AKA a Coconut Horse, AKA a Filipino Coconut Grater.
Still in the dark? I thought you might be. So I made a video of me riding the Coconut Horse (out of context, that sounds awesome terrible!).
The following video is kinda long (about 9 minutes). But in this video, I explain all of the following:
- How to open a coconut
- How to use the kabayo/coconut horse
- How to make coconut milk
- How to pick up chicks
Ok, I made that last one up. But what the video may lack in pizazz, it more than makes up for in information. Yeah, totally.
Now that you know what to do with a coconut, here are a couple of coconut recipes:
Palitaw (Sweet Rice Cakes with Shredded Coconut Topping)
Palitaw is a very quick and easy to prepare Filipino snack. All you have to do is make a dough from rice flour and water, form the dough into disks, boil the disks, then coat the disks in a mixture of sugar, sesame seeds, and freshly shredded coconut. Palitaw taste as delicious as they are easy to make.
Makes 15-18 rice cakes
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups rice flour
1 1/2 cups water
Toast sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir seeds continuously until they become golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately remove seeds from pan and place in a medium bowl. Allow seeds to cool to room temperature, then add the sugar and shredded coconut. Stir to combine.
Mix the rice flour and water in a large bowl until a sticky dough ball is formed. The dough should not be dry or crumbly. Depending on the humidity in your kitchen, you may need more or less water.
Taking about a tablespoon of dough at a time, form the dough into small spheres, then flatten the spheres into 1/4-inch thick disks. Place the disks on a lightly floured surface to prevent sticking.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, reduce heat to low, and allow water to simmer. Gently place a few disks into the simmering water at a time (work in batches). When the disks float to the top of the water, remove them with a slotted spoon or skimmer, then drain the disks on paper towels.
Dredge the rice cakes in the coconut mixture, then place them on a wire rack to cool slightly. Any leftover coconut mixture can be sprinkled on top of the rice cakes or served on the side.