Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lola Illang's Sikulati de Cacao: The Recipe


1-cup water
2 100%-pure cacao balls
1/2-cup sugar
1 cup full cream milk
1/3 to ½ cup condensed milk (to taste)

How to prepare this recipe

So much depends on the quality of the tableas or cacao balls so we often make our own.

Pick ripe cacao pods and slice them open to get the seeds. Soak the seeds in a basin full of water and rub them until most of the pulp is removed. Don’t worry about getting the pulp off completely. Spread the seeds onto a tray and leave them under the sun to dry.

In a clay pot under low to medium fire, roast the seeds for 20 to 30 minutes until the shell starts to become brittle. Control the fire to make sure the seeds don't burn. Allow them to cool then peel off the thick shell to gather the cocoa beans. Store in an a container.

To make cacao balls, crush the seeds into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle. To make it finer and draw out the oil, we further press the powder using our flat stone mill. A modern cacao bean grinder will work as well. Just make sure to use repeatedly until the oil comes out and powder turns to paste. When done, grab a palmful of the cacao paste, press until sufficiently compact, and roll between your palms until the ball is smooth and starts to glisten with oil. Store in a cool dry place until ready to use.

The tableas, ready to be melted in the claypot using a lomonilla

To prepare a pot of sikulati: Heat 1 cup of water in a clay pot over low to medium fire.

The thick mixture of tablea and water
Add 2 chocolate balls and stir using a lomonilla until completely melted. Add sugar and whisk until the mixture thickens. Pour in evaporated or full milk and whisk until silky.

The mixture becomes silky with the addition of condensed milk
Add condensed milk to taste. Makes 8 servings in an escudilla.

Best paired with sticky rice.

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