Sprouted Coconut Bread
The pa’umotu people (living in the Tuamotu Archipelago) live simply and the remoteness of the islands from Tahiti and villages means that sometimes not everyone has the opportunity to buy bread. But with a minimum of ingredients and a little bit of creativity, they are able to overcome this problem. From the Atoll of Makemo, Rika shares with us her recipe for one of the famous bread in the Tuamotu, the sprouted coconut bread or “Faraoa Uto” in Tahitian and “Faraoa Nounou” in Pa’umotu (The Tuamotu’s language).
Coconuts are symbols of the tropics and can be used in many different ways, from an early stage to a very late stage of its development (sprouted coconut). The sprouted coconut, called “Uto” in Tahiti, is recognized by the growing plant that breaks through the shell of an old coconut. At this point of time, we can find something inside the coconut, which looks like a spongy kind of cake or cotton candy that can have a flavor fluctuating from sweet and juicy to salty and savory. It is a very appreciated and satisfying food for the Polynesian population even in a raw and uncooked form.
The inside of a sprouted coconut
Sprouted coconut with the outer skin
Sprouted coconut with the outer skin removed
What we need
After we got an idea of the “Sprouted coconut”, let’s get into the recipe of our traditional Uto bread. Therefore, we will list first the ingredients followed by the preparation steps of the dough.
Ingredients (for 4 People)
- Flour (300 g/ 2 cups)
- Sugar (25 g / 2tbsp)
- 6 Sprouted Coconuts (Grated)
- Cut the coconut in half in order to harvest the sprouted coconut
- Clean the sprouted coconut and grate it in a clean bowl
- Mix the sprouted coconut with the sugar and the flour
- Spread a hand of the dough in a clean leaf and close the leaf
That’s it! Our dough is ready to be cooked! Everything until now has been prepared at home but for our next step, we did a little trip to a nearby Motu (Small island) next to our home. Overthere, we set up our traditional stove on which we cooked the prepared dough.
How to build a traditional Pa’umotu stove!
To bake our bread of course we wanted to do everything exactly how the people of the Tuamotu archipelago would do. That required us to build a natural stove.
Our first quest in this case was to find a good spot at the beach where we could find small branches to light a fire and some rocks to build a heating layer. After this, we started to dig a hole of approximately 30 cm, then we put as much stuff as possible to start a fire and finally, we waited until we had a maximum of coals to heat the gathered rocks. In our case, we used coral rocks as it was the only form of rocks available on the motu.
Traditional stove with coral rock layer
Placing bread on the rocks
Afterwards, we placed all the rocks little by little without suffocating the fire (This process is very important because the fire needs to heat the rocks that will cook the bread).
Then, we took our prepared dough that is wrapped in the leafs and simply put in on the heated rocks. (The leafs hearby function as a protection for the dough not to stick and burn on the rocks).
Finally, we stayed close to the stove and checked until the leafs were smoothly detached from the bread as you can see in the picture. In the end, the bread showed a crispy and light brown color on both sides. That’s how you know it is ready!
Leafs detaching from bread
Completely cooked bread
The best way to eat it!
We are ready! Now it is time to enjoy our freshly made bread. Our personal advice is to eat the bread dipped in some delicious coconut milk as we did on the Motu. Fortunately, we found a way to press our own milk there with only natural tools and the help of friends who sacrificed their hands when grating the coconut with shells from the beach 😀 Many thanks at this point for the huge support at this day.
Well, an easier way though is to already bring some prepared coconut milk with you. Therefore you can take a look at our little tutorial on how to make your own coconut milk. Besides that, there is not much to tell more except a big thank you for reading…
Enjoy the meal!
Impression of our trip to the “Miri Miri Motu”