TRADITIONAL JAMAICAN COCONUT RUNDOWN

2 medium-sized dried coconuts (available in Caribbean or Latino food stores)

Just enough water to chop coconuts in blender

Yields approximately 1 cup of rundown, a mixture of about 1/3 oil and 2/3 custard.

 

Most recipes for rundown use canned coconut milk instead of fresh coconut for ease of use. However, this traditional rundown recipe uses real dried coconuts. Rundown is really “boiling down” coconut milk to form a custard and coconut oil. Nothing else is required except a dash of salt. While most rundown recipes involve chicken, fish, vegetables, it can also be eaten as a dip for roasted breadfruit. The custard, which is slightly sweet and nutty, is delicious, and the oil, despite what you may have heard, is a very healthful oil. I am not suggesting that you go out and drink significant quantities of coconut oil, but you should not run from it either.

 

I suspect this traditional recipe which is used in rural Jamaica is a Jamaican rendition of the West African use of palm oil.

 

This recipe therefore takes a different approach in providing a way to make traditional rundown to which you may prepare and add fish, meat, vegetables to create other rundown dishes. You can draw inspiration about how to add fish, meat, and vegetables to this basic rundown recipe. I suggest you prepare your chicken, fish, meat or vegetables separately and add them to the rundown to create chicken rundown, fish rundown, meat, or vegetable rundown.

 

Break open the coconuts. Taste to ensure they coconuts are fresh. Remove the coconut “meat” from the shell with a knife. This is dangerous as you run the risk of cutting yourself. Therefore you should proceed cautiously until you get the hang of it. Cut the coconut “meat” into small pieces and chop up in a blender using the chop setting. Chop coconuts in batches so as not to overload the blender.

 

Blend the coconut in batches until the coconut is a fine consistency and the liquid resembles milk. Use a large strainer to separate the coconut from the milk. Hand squeeze any remaining milk from the residue. You can discard the residue or save it for use in the coconut drops and coconut filling for gizzadasrecipes.

 

In a large uncovered cooking pot bring the coconut milk to a rapid boil then reduce the flame to medium and cook until the water evaporates and what remains is a combination of clear liquid (oil) and custard (see picture below). This takes approximately 1 to 11/2 hours. Add salt to taste. As it cools, the custard will absorb most of the oil. Vegetables can now be added to the mixture.

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