Thursday, October 28, 2010

Koko Samoa - Samoan cocoa

By panipopos

It's here! It's here!

My koko Samoa is finally HERE!

Thanks to my beautiful sister, D, I have two quality blocks of koko samoa standing on my kitchen table. I mean REAL Samoan koko! On my kitchen table. I feel like throwing a party because I haven't had Samoan koko since...I can't even remember the last time, and now it's right HERE.
On. My. Kitchen. Table.

Those who have never tasted it are probably asking "What's the big deal about koko samoa?".

Well, you will only appreciate my answer if you are a chocoholic, or a coffeeholic. Because koko samoa is the best that both these beverages have to offer.

Koko samoa is made from Samoan cocoa beans, considered a premium cacao bean because there is no trace of bitterness in it's products. This makes it ideal for drinking.

But koko samoa is the kind of drink that you either love or hate. You'd love it because of it's deep chocolatey aroma and flavour. You'd love it because it packs one hell of a caffeine kick. You'd love it if you grew up with it because it's a smell and taste that is unique to Samoa and Samoans. On the other hand, you'd hate it if you didn't like chewing on grinds while you drink. You'd hate it if you drank it as a kid, then forgot to brush your teeth before you went to school, and then spent the day grinning and laughing your head off before realising you had all the grinds stuck in your teeth. And you'd probably hate it if you were the one that was always stuck pounding the beans.

Nevetherless, koko samoa is truly an original, local product. Samoans pick their own beans, roast them, pound them and then leave the grinds to dry into hardened blocks. Whenever the desire for koko samoa comes up, part of the block is chipped off or grated and then mixed with boiling water and sugar for a hot, satisfying drink.

Koko samoa is so integral to Samoan life, that the cocoa plant is protected by law. The Cocoa Disease Ordinance of 1961 makes it illegal to bring any cocoa plant or seeds into Samoa that might carry pests that threaten the locally grown trees. (After blight almost wiped out the country's taro industry, I bet they're taking this one seriously.)

When I finally stop sniffing my blocks of koko and put them down, I'll take photos and start cooking with them, because this, my friends, just took our blog to a whole other level.

http://panipopos.blogspot.com

11 comments:

  1. Woo Hoo! So, excited for you :) So, how the heck can someone like me get their hands on this? And, is this what is traditionally used to make Samoan Cocoa Rice? If I can't get my hands on this, is there a reasonable substitute?

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  2. Hi Jenn. Yes, this is what is used for koko alaisa (the cocoa rice you mentioned), and koko kopai. A reasonable substitute is any good quality unsweetened cocoa powder (alkalised/non-alkalised - doesn't matter). Samoans all over the world are probably jumping up and down saying, cocoa powder does NOT taste the same as koko samoa. True, true. But that's what my mother would use if we were out of the real stuff so I consider it a reasonable substitute. Wish I could help you out with a supplier, but as you've read, I had to get my own sister to send me some, but I'll keep an eye out online for you.

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  3. Ok, first of all, I'm glad I've found your blog! Congratulations! I always appreciate when people present the culture of their origin instead of tourists who travelled the world and think they know enough to procude a cookbook :-D

    Anyway, me and my girl spent a couple of deeply relaxing days on Samoa during our world trip and while she rather got her hands on a lava lava, I managed to get hold of two pressed and sealed cups of Samoan coco which I send home!

    My dear family wanted to make sure that when I'm back in Germany, the Samoan coco won't crawl away on its own so they put it into the fridge.

    To come to my question ;-) How "much" of grated or shaved coco do you use for one ordinary mug/cup?

    I can't wait to rinse my tastebuds with it! Unfortunately, it wasn't really the "time for coco" during our stay, so no restaurant offered it. But on the market one could still buy it.

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  4. Hi Leon, welcome to my blog...Fantastic idea to buy Samoan koko...it really is unique...Koko lasts indefinitely just at normal room temperature, but I'm sure it's ok in the refrigerator...On this site, simply click on 'recipes' above, and then Koko Samoa recipe and video and you can find exact directions for making it...Good luck!

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  5. Talofa Lava, i love your site it has helped me tremendously on my journey in learning how to cook samoan food :]. But i was wondering if you knew any websites that sale ingredients, like the koko samoa?

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  6. Hi, I have all my ingredients sent over by my sister...I am looking into selling koko samoa from this blog site, but until now, haven't found a quality supplier...I will let you know if I come across something.

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  7. hi i wanted to know do you know any food shops in qld to get food like koko samoa, my kama loves it , there was a pasifika in logan its closed now , but i love your recipes all of them i never burn my panipopo anymore now so thanks heaps god bless

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  8. i is really hard just to make a cup of koko there is about 10 steps. i am very happy for you.

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  9. Koko Samoa in much supply in Glen Innes, Auckland, for all those who do not know this. I'm sure ALL the Samoans know this. I believe you can also get it at the fleamarket in Otara on Saturdays. Don't ask me about the quality of the stuff. I'm not Samoan so wouldn't know that. I get my supply from a Samoan family. I have yet to taste the product at the local dairy I was referred to by my Samoan friends, but they look and smell exactly the same. I think it's $6 a 200g block.

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