Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cook Island Doughnuts

Now, why is a Cook Island recipe on a Samoan food blog?


Well, while I was on vacation these past few weeks, I taught my family how to make Cook Island/Raro doughnuts. The first time I demonstrated it, I made 50, and they were gone in less than 24 hours. The second time we made them, we doubled the recipe so there were 100 doughnuts. 'Should last at least two days', I thought. 
Not even. 
Again, gone in less than 24 hours. 
For the health and safety of my family, I didn't dare attempt a triple batch, but be warned: Samoans LOVE these doughnuts. 




My late Cook Island aunt used to make these and sell them at the markets in Otara, New Zealand. She would sit there with her styrofoam box filled with warm doughnuts, bagged by the dozen. She never sat for longer than an hour or two before all her doughnuts were sold, customers often being turned away. I wish I could say that the following recipe was hers but, bless her soul, she did not pass her recipe on to me


This recipe, which reminds me exactly of my auntie's doughnuts, comes from researching the internet, making Dutch Oliebollen every year, and experimenting on my lovely family who were willing - a bit too willing - to taste my creations.


Cook Island Doughnuts
(makes 50)


4 packages (28 g) dried yeast
10 cups (1.25 kg) flour
4 tablespoons (50 g) butter, room temperature
2½ cups (500g) sugar
pinch of salt
3 (180 g) eggs
1 cup (240 ml) milk
4 cups (1 L) warm water


Put everything in a very large bowl, pot or if you really don't have anything else, a bucket. Mix until well combined (no dry flour patches). 


Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise until doubled in volume. Can't tell you how long this will take because you could be in Alaska or you could be in Africa and rising totally depends on the temperature of your kitchen, the humidity of the air, your elevation levels...figure at least an hour.


Once doubled, start heating up your oil for deep-frying. We want to have it between 320-350° F (160-180°C) by the time we go to fry. Make sure the oil is at least 10 cm deep. Oh, and go get a chopstick. You heard me right, a chopstick. This is essential for the recipe.


Back to the dough. Stir the mixture down and then scrape out the very sticky dough onto a well-floured bench. Well-floured in this case means at least a centimetre layer of flour on your work surface, but add only as much flour as you need to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. If you add way to much flour at this point, your doughnuts will turn out hard. If you don't add enough flour, your doughnuts won't hold their shape. Ah, I never said this would be easy.


Roll out balls of dough just smaller than the palm of your hand - OK, lapsing into Samoan style recipe instructions here, but I forgot to weigh each doughnut. I think they were roughly 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide. If it helps, remember that we aim to get 50 doughnuts out of this recipe. 


Once the oil has reached temperature, begin frying the doughnuts by picking up a ball of dough, piercing it with your thumb in the centre to make a doughnut hole, and then sliding the doughnut into the hot oil carefully. Immediately put the chopstick in the doughnut hole and swirl the doughnut round and round to enlarge and form the hole. 


Fry both sides of the doughnut until golden brown. Remove with your handy chopstick and then continue frying. You may think you've made 50 doughnuts but in reality, after every member of your family has done a 'taste test' you'll end up with about 25. 


Best enjoyed warm with a hot beverage, ie. Koko Samoa.


Photo supplied.
Speaking of which, I received an email from another Koko Samoa supplier. Poulalo gets her Koko directly from her sister in Samoa and is able to ship or deliver to any customer in Queensland, Australia. All proceeds go to children's education. If you are interested in some fresh, flavourful koko, please email her or call her cellphone (0434383453) Queensland customers only. 


One last thing before I go. If you make my recipes, please leave me some feedback - good or bad. I love to hear if things are working for you and also if they aren't. And photos are welcome anytime!

36 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for posting this. I have searched high and low for this recipe and never had any luck. I too was one of those that would always buy a bag (or two)from the market in Otara. I can't wait to make this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Katie, no worries. Please let me know how the doughnuts turn out. Happy cooking!

      Delete
  2. please can you help want to make palusami for my grandma who 91yrs she was born in Samoa and talks for her childhood more ofen these day I would love to make this dish for her we live in Christchurch so it's hard to find it ready made here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi dive deee, I'd love to make a recipe for you, but palusami requires young taro leaves which I can't get where I am. If you know anyone coming in from Samoa, ask them to make an umu for your grandmother. That's the best way to get the authentic island flavour.

      Delete
  3. Wow I remember when I lived in Auckland (many years ago) going to the Otara flea markets and hunting down the island doughnuts, and yes your right, the suppliers ran out so fast aaarrggghhh...I tried your recipe and those memories came flooding back Thank you!!! unfortunately my 4 teenaged kids are all health nuts and wouldn't bloody eat them...ohh there's too much oil mum..what do they know haha. But I took them to a work party and they LOVED them :) thank you again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, so what's your secret? How the heck do you raise raise kids to be teenage health nuts? I really want to know. Glad you liked the recipe and thanks for the lovely feedback.

      Delete
  4. Hi I tried the recipe and it was great. Unfortunately it only made 40 however it was very nice. I was so suprised at the outcome and it tasted so nice i only have 3 doughnuts left. Thanks for the recipe:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're addictive, aren't they? Thanks for trying the recipe and for the feedback. I'll double-check how much they make. Thanks again.

      Delete
  5. I will definitely try and follow your recipe and get back to you how I get on. My brother was one of the best for making them. I used to make them when I was in NZ but totally forgotten how to make them. My husband even made them before and he's palangi he also forgot how to make them.
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emily, I look forward to hearing from you once you've tried them to see how they compare to your original recipe. And seriously, how could you forget how to make the best-tasting doughnut in the world? Never forget...never...

      Delete
  6. Forty years ago my mother-in-law taught me how to make Maori bread from yeast and from rewena leaven. I've also made 'fry bread' from both these dough with great success and have gained a reputation in the family and beyond. I'm very keen to try out the Cook Island donut recipe for a family occasion tomorrow - hope I live up to this recipes great reputation. Thanks for putting it out there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so welcome. Goodness, Maori bread...nothing like the good old rewena sopping up left over boil-up. Good luck with the doughnuts - I'm sure with your experience, these will work out fine for you.

      Delete
    2. Hello, Sounds awesome, gonna make these doughnuts for my family.
      can they be made like round balls? I remember these back in NZ, going to the markets. Sooooo yummy!!!!
      Or do they cook better with the hole?

      Delete
    3. If you try making them into balls, make them smaller or you'll find that the inside doesn't cook through. Good luck!

      Delete
  7. Great recipe, made these today. Used 3 cups of water instead of 4 as I found the mixture to be too wet, but probably used 10 and a 1/2 cups of flour. I let it sit for 2 hours and made about 40 doughnuts though it depends on what size you make the ball. I have gas but cooked at the right temperature they are golden brown and soft in texture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have gas? Just kidding. Thank you for the feedback.

      Delete
  8. made doughnuts for the first time using your receipe last sat and it was a big hit with family members who came over to watch the Tua fight, especially the children who asked for more, just made another batch, nice and easy, thanks heaps for sharing yr receipies God Bless :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't think of a more perfect snack during a boxing match. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  9. Hi I will definitely try your recipe this weekend. Please advise what kind of oil you use to fry the donuts. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi I'm going to try your recipe on my family this weekend! Please tell me what oil you use to fry them in? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm going to try your recipe this weekend. Please tell me what kind of oil you use to fry them in. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just use vegetable oil. You can use canola or peanut oil or any oil that can reach high temperatures, even lard.

      Delete
  12. Kia ora what flour do you use for this recipe and does the oil make a difference to the flavour?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kia ora, use all purpose flour and fresh oil. Use any oil that can reach a high temperature without smoking. Olive oil is not suitable but peanut, vegetable and canola are. Lard too.

      Delete
    2. Love your recipes and making donuts and chop suey today as we can't get to Pasifika festival here in Auckland NZ where we usually eat til we pop! Thanks for your site, it's fun and recipes are super easy to follow.

      Delete
    3. Thanks for your comment Tama at the beach. Happy that the website helps and hope it gets you through those dry spells when island food ain't nowhere to be seen.

      Delete
  13. Kia ora what flour do you use? And does the oil change the flavour at all?

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have made these doughnuts a few times now so easy and very yummy my cook island hubby is very happy only problem is now he wants me to cook them all the time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Didn't I warn you? haha...Glad your husband enjoys them and if he's a Cook Islander and he's endorsed them, then you've made me very happy! :)

      Delete
  15. Hi panipopos thank you so much for this amazing recipe! At first I thought the dough wasn't going to rise but patience has never been a virtue of mine. A little bit later, yay success! They were delish! Now at least when I'm in Auckland I don't have to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to go get my fix @ otara... Well I still probably will. Haha. Next up, think I'll try your panipopo recipe. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Franky, many thanks for your comment. Glad that the recipe worked out for you and yes, I know what you mean...less effort just to buy a packet. Still nothing beats the taste of homemade, and if you have a big gathering, it's much more fun to make them yourself.

      Delete
  16. Cool. Im gonna try this one! In Melbourne so I cant just get in the car to the markets! Biggest craving ever, 5 1/2 months pregnant and this is all i want!lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi soul, definitely give them a go. One batch of these should take care of those cravings, at least for a day or two :).

      Delete
  17. Hey hey Panipopos - huge thank you for sharing...these donuts are amazing!!! I made them today for my grandson's rugby after match - still hot from the pan...made well over 50 & GONE!!! I want to make another batch but I know we will munch the lot between 4 of us so I'm sitting on my hands...thank you again cos these are totally moreeee-ish!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Binky, thanks so much for your comment. See what I mean about 50 not being enough? I try not to make these too often or else I, and everyone around me, starts to look like a cook island doughnut - round and puffy. :)

      Delete