My family has been lucky enough to be able to do some travelling and one of our favorite places so far to visit is Hawaii. We have been to Waikiki twice now (and will be back soon) and when we go one stop we must make is to a little bakery called Leonard’s. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall place with almost no parking but it is a place where both locals and tourists flock to for it’s out of this world baking. It’s most famous treat is a Portuguese treat called Malasada. A Malasada is basically a fried donut without the whole, traditionally covered in sugar. The Portuguese brought this decedent treat to Hawaii in the 1880s and they quickly became a favorite. In Hawaii you can find them made in the traditional way but often you will find them filled with custard, chocolate or a creamy coconut filling.
Pani Popo is a Samoan dish that literally means coconut (popo) buns (pani). They really have very little to do with our favorite Hawaiian bakery but as soon as my husband tasted them he was transported back there. Many people do refer to Pani Popo as Hawaiian Coconut Buns which is not entirely accurate but not that big of a stretch. In the end it doesn’t matter which culture you tie them to – these sweet buns, baked in coconut milk are absolutely irresistible even to a low carb, sugar free eater like me. They are the perfect treat to serve at a tea party or make an amazing addition to a family brunch. And as an added bonus these sweet buns are also vegan.
Pani Popo (Sweet Coconut Milk Buns)
Makes 10 buns
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour
- 1 can of Blue Dragon Coconut Milk
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 pk (2 1/4 tsp) of yeast
- 1/4 cup of canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (optional)
Put 1 1/2 cups of flour in the bowl of the stand mixer (or regular bowl if you aren’t using a mixer) making a small well (you will be pouring your wet ingredients into it).
Put 3/4 cup of coconut milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium sized pot. Turn the stove to medium heat and heat this mixture, while stirring, until it is warm but not hot. Remove the milk mixture from heat and stir in the yeast.
Pour the milk/yeast mixture into the flour well. Put a tea towel over the bowl and let it sit for 20 minutes.
Add the oil. Turn on the mixer to medium speed (with a dough hook) and begin to mix. Or if doing this by hand begin to lightly knead. Once the ingredients are well incorporated slowly start to work in the remaining flour. Continue to knead, adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
Cover again with the tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes (your dough will double in size).
Form the dough into buns, place in a well greased cast iron pan or baking dish, cover and let rise once more for 30 minutes.
Mix the remaining coconut milk with 1/4 cup of sugar and pour over the buns.
If desired sprinkle the sesame seeds over the buns.
Place the pan in a 375 degree oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until the buns are golden brown and most of the coconut milk is absorbed.
These are absolutely heavenly served warm but still pretty darn good at room temperature.
Coconut Milk (and light Coconut Milk) is just one Blue Dragon ingredient that is perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets. Wether you are looking to make a sweet baked treat like these coconut buns or something more savoury you are sure to find just the right ingredient to make your vegetarian/vegan dish perfect. Just look at the options Blue Dragon has to offer:
- Szechuan Pepper Stir Fry Sauce
- Tomato & Sweet Chilli Stir Fry Sauce
- General Tao Stir Fry Sauce
- Spring Roll Wrappers
- Rice Noodles
- Sesame Oil
I am part of the Blue Dragon Canada ambassador program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.