Thursday, August 12, 2010
Roasted Coconut Juice--Kelapa Muda Bakar
Es kelapa muda is a drink found throughout Southeast Asia by one name or another. At its best it is simply the juice and flesh from a young coconut with ice. It is extremely refreshing with a natural sweetness. Some places add syrups, such as rose syrup, which overpower the juice
Driving back to Surabaya after a brief visit in Yogyakarta, we passed these warungs selling baked young coconuts. I had seen these on other visits to Java, but was never in a car that I could simply ask the driver to stop. These never seem to be sold in cities, only in the countryside. I asked the driver to stop and we got out and bought a few to taste.
I asked the woman, Bu Sari, what the purpose was of roasting the coconuts. She didn't answer directly, but claimed all sorts of health benefits from drinking the juice. It was good for the kidneys, for the blood, would lower cholesterol, and treat gout, among others. I just wanted to know how it tasted.
I don't know what effect the roasting of the coconuts has. It appeared it may have somehow increased the liquid content of the coconuts. Each seemed extremely juicy; there was about a liter of juice from each coconut. Bu Sari mixed the juice of the coconut with powdered ginger, gula jawa, and honey, producing a sweet, warming drink. It was not as refreshing as simple es kelapa muda, but was better than a carbonated soft drink. Our take-aways certainly made the drive more bearable.