Koko Rice is a staple across Samoa, and in Samoan communities around the world. Genius in its simplicity, many Samoans list it as ‘comfort food’ from their childhood. Family gatherings would always have a big steamy pot of it along with fresh bread loaded with butter. Just ask one of your Samoan friends if they remember koko rice and watch that dreamy look sweep across their face.
Now you can enjoy it too – but if you want your dish to be truly traditional, go to your local health food based grocery store or online to find authentic Samoan koko Is it really that different? You bet it is! Dark, rich and extremely pure, it makes for a flavor combination unlike any other. It certainly is a favorite among the staff of the Polynesian Cultural Center!
KOKO ALAISA (Koko Rice)
1 cup short grained rice
8 cups water
1 can coconut milk or evaporated milk
1/2 cup sugar or to your taste
1/2 cup koko Samoa
Substitutions: Cocoa powder (such as Hersheys hot chocolate mix) or grated pure dark chocolate can be substituted for Koko Samoa.
Optional: For an extra burst of flavor, add 1 orange leaf –or- 1 tsp orange peel –or- a dash of orange extract – extraordinary!
In a large pot combine rice and water. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add milk, sugar, and orange leaf or peel and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add grated koko samoa or cocoa to the pot, making sure that the cocoa is fully mixed with other ingredients. Bring to a boil, stir once more and then remove from the stove top.
Cocoa rice should resemble a thick soup. Serve while warm.
Nina Jones, a mainland gal from way back, is now a transplanted Islander. With her husband of 41 years, she volunteers at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Her hobbies include swimming, traveling, studying and writing about what she is learning from the various Polynesian cultures. Her blogs focus on their history, beliefs, practices and – as an added bonus – delicious food! To her, Polynesia is not just a place to visit, it is a way to live and she is very honored to be able to be a part of their amazing world.