Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fa'apapa - Baked coconut bread

By panipopos

So the other day, my mother called me "old school".
She didn't use those exact words but the implication was clear. I've been away too long.

How did this happen?
Well, I was telling her how I was making fa'apapa, the way we used to have it when I was little. Fa'apapa in those days were these heavy, thick, dense coconut slabs that you could break your teeth on. An old Samoan woman could keep this kind of fa'apapa in her bag and nibble a lump off while waiting for the bus, sitting in church, in the doctor's waiting room. And the fa'apapa also doubled as a weapon in case she got mugged. One hit, and the guy would be out like a light.



So I was telling my mother how I had succeeded in recreating the same kind of hard crunchy crust around a dense coconut texture, weighing the requisite one pound, and the woman says "Oh, we don't make them like that anymore".

"What? What do you mean?" I ask her.
"Yeah, these days, we like lighter, fluffier fa'apapa." my mother replies.
"Huh? What are you talking about, 'lighter' 'fluffier'? They're supposed to be bricks of coconut right?"
"No, that's how they used to make them. Some people still make it that way (eg. my old-school daughter). But these days, we add baking powder to give it a bit of lift and don't add so much coconut. It tastes better too."

Well, I'll be darned. Who would have thought that fa'apapa would evolve without me.


So I've been experimenting with the traditional and updated versions of fa'apapa, and my mother is right, the modern stuff is easier on the palate. But I still think the old-fashioned fa'apapa is better for fa'ausi, which in truth, was the whole reason I was trying to make fa'apapa anyway. Feel free to try either version. They both taste good, but only the original fa'apapa can prevent mugging.



Old-school Fa'apapa (makes 2)
2 cups (250g) flour
 cup (65g) sugar 
1 cup (120g) unsweetened coconut flakes 
½ can (200ml) coconut milk

Put everything together in a bowl and mix well with your hands. Divide into two equal portions. Generously grease some baking paper with butter. Flatten each portion of dough into a slab no bigger than 1 inch/2.5 thick. Wrap each portion tightly in the baking paper. Bake at 390°F/200ยบC for 35-40 minutes or until crust is well-browned.




If you get a chance, check out this video of fa'apapa straight from the umu!
http://panipopos.blogspot.com/

58 comments:

  1. oh my goodness!!! i've been hoping that you'd post a recipe for fa'apapa:) my other uncle(also a terrific cook) made this when i was growing up and i absolutely love it, as do my kids! can't wait to try it out-thanks so much! you're amazing:)

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  2. and i cannot wait to try your fa'aausi recipe! that stuff's just too good:)

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  3. You're very welcome, as always! I'll be posting the fa'aausi sauce recipe later this week, which will take the fa'apapa up another notch. Happy baking!

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  4. i tried the updated version of fa'apapa today and...I LOVE IT! it's so much softer,lighter and it still tastes just as delicious as the traditional. thanks so much for posting the recipe-i've got a happy tummy today:)i'm sure my family will agree with me!

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  5. THANK YOU for trying this recipe out and I'm happy you liked it...I guess I should give credit to my mother for suggesting I put baking powder in...It really does make a difference...Thanks again!

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  6. Malo lava I love the story that went along with the recipe! I think I need the brick recipe been getting some strange visitors here in Maui.


    Malo aupito

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  7. Oh yay! I love this site! Keep it up. I love fa'apapa and fa'ausi. I'm excited to make them.

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  8. Mary: They're tough enough to cause a concussion but not kill...so hurl them hard and fast...LOL...Enjoy!

    Katie: Thx for the compliment...Hope your cooking is successful!

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  9. Omg I looooove your blog! I am so excited to make this for my sister cause she loves this! I just seen your new post for fausi and I never been happier lol I can't wait to try that too. Do you have a recipe for Kopai? I can't seem to find one :)

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  10. Hi Lauga, I'll be making kopai pretty soon because I'm craving it...Keep an eye out for it over the next month or so.

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  11. I love your blog!!! Can't wait to have a go at making Fa'apapa - my personal fave being the coconut one. I am looking for your panipopo recipe because that is one recipe that I would love to master.

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  12. After a long search and asking mates who clearly love to eat them, but have no idea how to make them because they get them from so and so's aunty's brother's sister's father's aunty. I have FINALLY not only learnt how to spell them right, but also make them. Thank you. My partner loves them too and it's the first time he's ever tried it. Am about to make another batch. The new version is nice and lighter, but I still prefer the brick that gives you sore teeth afterwards.

    Love the blog too.

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  13. Studymum: Thank you! Fa'apapa are very easy to make, so I do hope you try it.

    Anonymous: I'm really happy the fa'apapa worked out for you. If your partner likes your fa'apapa, he's gonna lurve your fa'ausi. Thank you for the feedback!

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  14. I love your blog. I am married to a Samoa (I am palagi) and I love to cook. I have learned to cook many Samoa foods over the years but I am learning even more because of you. I made fa'apapa for my husband last night and he loves it and so did I. Thank you again for the great receipts!!!

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  15. You're very welcome...It's really awesome that you've learned to cook Samoan food...Myself, I don't eat it every day, but when I do, it really brings back good feelings and great memories...Keep up the great work!

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  16. thank u for posting this. i like the hard as a rock papa myself. lol. its how i remembered it. i also love your other recipes.

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  17. I like both, but the hard as rock one gives me that nostalgic feeling..Thanks for dropping by!

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  18. I just made my second batch of the old fashioned kind and my husband said they were too hard. Lol. He's not a real samoan like me. He must be used to the wimpy kind. Lol. Thank your mum for me. Your videos and recipes are awesome.

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  19. I bet if you make a fa'ausi sauce, he won't be complaining...lol...I'll thank my Mum when I chat to her next...cheers!

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  20. Thanks so much! I made your faapapa recipe substituting the pumpkin for papaya tonight! This was a hit with my husband who had it growing up and my 3 yr old daughter who had it for the first time. We are a younger family and I am the "born again Samoan"! My husband said it turned out perfectly and I'm excited to make it for my dad tomorrow!!! Thank you

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  21. That's the yummiest idea I've heard recently...must try that next time I come across papaya in my supermarket. I'm sure your Dad is going to LOVE them!

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  22. I tried the Faapapa new version tonight and I must say it is absolutely divine!!!! I've tried other recipes in the past and they've been great but this is just something else! It should be a crime that something so scrumptious could be so easy to make lol
    Thanks again for the recipe will definitely try the other samoan culinary delights on your page.. keep up the good work.. we expats need you!!

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  23. Thanks for the comment! Sometimes the most delicious flavours are really the most simple...Happy baking!

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  24. Tried the new version of the fa'apapa last week and didn't like it much. Prefer the old style one, like they used to make @ my parents bakery...will definitely try your recipe. It's been a few years looking on the internet for samoan recipes and now finally my friend from Canada found yours and I'm excited to try all my favorite recipes. Where do you have the peach pie recipe? Thank you so much for sharing!!!

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  25. Thanks for the feedback! Wish my parents had owned a bakery...would love to know how to make all those sweet yummy goodies...Good luck with your baking!

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  26. just starting out with the baking.. but Coconut flakes? is that fresh coconut scraped? or can you use the ones in the bag..like dessicated lol sorry hope that makes sense!

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  27. fresh is best, but dessicated is an acceptable substitute...just make sure the flakes are unsweetened.

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  28. Thank you :) Hiii again lol is there a difference betweene coconut cream and milk? and what brand do you usually use?? thank you will try it soon! My samoan hubby has been naggin me LOL but i wanna make sure its right :)

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  29. where I come from, the cream is the thick part of the liquid that is extracted from wringing the coconut with boiled water...If you open a can of coconut milk, it may have thickened at the top of the can and you can just scrape it out...Whatever you do, don't use coconut juice...that's usually just for drinking.

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  30. hi there, thanks for the lovly recipes u hav postd.. i got to stay yr 1 of a kind.. sooo thanks so much. jst a quick question? am i able to use foil instead of baking paper for the coconut bread pls

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  31. Sure, just butter it generously and allow room for it to rise..good luck!

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  32. This stuff is too good and delicious :) Keep rocking

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  33. wow ! this faapapa bread is looking tasty and i am glad that you are so involve in this by replying on the comments !

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  34. It sounds delish! Altho' I wonda if my palate is so Samoan I will still crave the brick papa? hahaha. You can take the girl out of Samoa but not the kokonut outta the girl. Se mioe. I appreciate you sharing your recipes, so many are stingy it's not funny :D You Rock! *Clicks Favorites...and adds www.samoafood.com*

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    1. Thanks heaps for the comment. I used to like the bricks, but now I'm onto the modern stuff. Kinder on the teeth and you don't need a chainsaw to slice it. Thanks for adding me to your favourites!

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  35. how much baking powder should do you use?

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  36. Thank you So Much for your blog. We just made faapapa & it was a success. We substituted brown sugar cause we didn't have regular sugar & didn't have the coconut flakes either. It was still edible & moist. My husband hid the other faapapa for his lunch tomorrow. And we're still hungry for more. Lol! My parents live in Samoa so I had to search for samoan recipes online. You are a lifesaver. God Bless ma faafetai lava!

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    1. You're welcome. Sounds like next time you'll have to double or triple the recipe. And tell the husband that there's an 11th commandment that one should not gaga meaai ;) Thanks for dropping by the blog.

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  37. Hi there Pani!! My good friend from high schools mom use to make this for me all the time, Papa with a drink of A&W juice was a great after workout snack...lol Now I only see one recipe. Is this the old school or new one. I want to attempt it. Be Blessed!!

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    1. Now that I think about it, you're absolutely right. This is a perfect after workout snack! The recipe is for the old-school type. Good luck!

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  38. Is this meant to be a sweet thing or something that can accompany savoury dishes?

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  39. Is it plain flour or self raising pls?

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  40. thanks for the recipe a local shop sells faapapa's only on the weekend so i find myself craving for some during the week but can never get any so this is a great way for me to feed my craving for faapapa's during the week. thanks again!

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  41. Hi there. I am enjoying reading your blog & recipes a lot! Where is the recipe for your new version please (or is it exactly the same as your old school version above but with baking powder - if so how much baking powder please)? Many thanks (-:

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  42. OMG! I am sooooo happy I found your blog. I literally watched all your videos and hit my damn self in the head because now all I want is Fa'apapa. My grandpa always used to make this for me EVERYTIME I asked without hesitation and it was so perfect EVERYTIME he made them. Now that he has passed I hit myself everytime I crave this for not having it stick with me. My Papa also made it hard cause he never ever used a measuring cup and made in bulks lol .. Anyways, thank you for bringing back some happy memories and Thank You for sharing all of your Recipes

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    1. Thanks Tiatti, great that my recipes bring back memories for you. Happy cooking!

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  43. This sounds delicious i'm going to make this for my samoan boyfriend :) but i only have coconut cream i my cupboard can I use this or does it have to be coconut milk?

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    1. Unsweetened coconut cream is fine, but not sweetened coconut-flavoured cream.

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  44. how do you make the new version w/ baking soda? measurement wise..

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  45. Who created this amazing recipe???
    And why is it called Fa'apapa???

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  46. Wow, I'm eating the one I just made, and the coconut flavor is beautiful with the cream (I used coconut cream - that's how my family made it when I was younger) and with the baking powder? Genius! I used self-raising though, which had raising agents anyways. Thanks sooooo much for the recipe! :D

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  47. I am wondering what kind of coconut flakes to use. Should it be the larger, flat, dry flakes you can buy at Whole Foods, is it the moist flakes in a bag that you have to refrigerate once you open, or should it be a finer shredded dry flake? I just tried it with the big flakes and it looks nothing like photo. If anyone can can tell me, please let me know. Thank you!

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    1. Hi and thanks for your question. The coconut should be unsweetened and not superfine but certainly not super thick. Try the finer shredded dry flake before the refrigerated type. Good luck!

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