Coconut and Key Lime Soup
Chef Parlo creates a seductive fusion dessert by combining tropical fruits with Asian flavor notes such as kaffir lime leaf, lemon grass, coconut and sticky rice, popular in East Asian cookery. Sticky rice, also known as glutinous, waxy, or sweet rice, has a higher degree of amylopectin than other rice varieties. Amylopectin is the starch that causes rice grains to stick together when cooked. Sticky rice is the only rice that can actually be steamed, i.e., cooked over (not in) boiling water. Coconut water is not the same as coconut milk. The coconut water is simply poured from a fresh coconut after the top has been sliced off and the cavity pierced. Coconut milk is canned and sweetened. The key limes called for are smaller and more pungent than the larger, widely available Persian lime. Kaffir lime leaves come from the kaffir lime tree grown in Southeast Asia and Hawaii and give a fragrant citrusy flavor to foods. They are available dried and sometimes fresh in Asian markets
- Key Lime Soup (recipe follows)
- Sweet sticky rice - 2 cups
- Coconut milk - 1 15-ounce can
- Mangoes - 2 ripe, or as needed, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced lengthwise
- Assorted tropical fruits in season - peeled, sliced (papaya, passion fruit, lychees, star fruit, kiwis, kumquats, blood oranges, guava, pomegranate seeds, pineapple, cactus pear, fresh berries) Fresh kaffir lime leaves, finely julienned (optional)
- Fresh coconut shavings - toasted
- Key Lime Soup
- Fresh Coconut Water - 3 cups
- Fresh Key lime juice - 1/2 cup
- Sugar - 2/3 cup
- Kaffir lime leaf - 1, roughly chopped
- Vanilla bean - 1, split and scraped
- Star Anise - 1 piece
- Cinnamon Stick - 1 two-inch
- Green Cardamom Pods - 2
- Fresh Lemon Grass - 1 stalk, roughly chopped
- Dark Rum - 2 ounces
- Unflavored Granulated Gelatin - 3 teaspoons
Prepare Key Lime Soup (below) and chill.
Soak sticky rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain. Line a bamboo steamer basket or colander with cheesecloth. Pour in rice and distribute evenly. Cover top. Set over a pan of boiling water and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer rice to a bowl while warm and add coconut milk. Stir to mix and let stand until coconut milk has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
Crack one of the coconuts from which the coconut water was extracted and cut out the coconut meat. Shave thinly with a vegetable peeler. Toast in a 350 F oven or in a dry skillet until golden brown. Set on a tray to cool. With a 2-3/4-inch diameter stainless steel cookie cutter or cake ring that measures 2-1/3 inches high, cut out 12 round circles of mango. Meanwhile prepare tropical fruits for garnish.
To serve: Make sticky rice-mango cakes by placing a mango circle in the bottom of the cake ring used to cut out the mango circles. Add a layer of sticky rice. Top with a mango circle. Add a second layer of sticky rice. Finish with a mango circle. Repeat, making four mango cakes in all. Set each mango cake in the center of a large chilled shallow rimmed soup plate. Scatter the tropical and exotic fruit around the rice-mango cake. Stir the Key Lime Soup well if it has jelled too firmly and spoon it over the fruit, just to coat. Do not pour too much soup over the fruit. Sprinkle the finely julienned lime leaf and toasted coconut shavings over the soup.
Key Lime Soup
Place all ingredients except for the rum and gelatin in a small, 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle the gelatin over the rum and stir. Let soften. After the soup has set, pour into a strainer lined with a clean paper coffee filter. You may have to change the filter several times if it becomes clogged. After the soup has been filtered, add the softened gelatin and rum. Heat the soup just enough to dissolve the gelatin. Put the soup in a small container and refrigerate until cold and slightly thickened.