With savory dishes, I often allow myself to be more creative with recipes. In contrast, I think baking cakes and pastry is more of an exact science. I could not be more academic.
For me, and I am most certainly wrong, a good cake is made with such basic ingredients as flour, eggs and good old butter.
196 flavors definitely has upset all the myths and preconceived ideas that I had with cuisine.
When, before publishing his recipe, Mike told me about his Nigerian bejus, I was skeptical to say the least that anyone could bake cookies with only cassava root and coconut as ingredients! Yet his bejus were to die for.
That’s why I was a little confused when I discovered mkatra siniya, a cake made mainly made of rice and coconut.
Are you up for the challenge?
This is the phrase that most gourmet Comorian websites use when describing mkatra siniya. This cake is present at every festivity and holiday in the country and only experienced women venture to make it, so they say.
To be honest, I must admit that I did not really understand why. The recipe is quite simple and predictable.
In Mayotte, siniya means “tray”. In Comoros, mkatra siniya is cooked in a metal tray. It is baked as it is trapped in the embers. The tray is placed on glowing embers and the top is covered with embers as well.
The difficulty probably resides in the cooking method and not in the preparation of the cake. The cake needs to remain very white inside. It is actually also called the “white cake”.
In order to love mkatra siniya, you must already love rice cakes.
My guinea pig this week was Philippe, my youngest son Reuben’s tutor. Philippe is fond of cakes made of rice. Needless to say, he loved it. Thank you Philippe!
At home, only my eldest son, Alexander, tasted it. He chose to eat it with a side of raspberry sorbet. I don’t know if he just wanted to please his mother, but he said he enjoyed it.
- 2 lb Suriname rice
- 2 coconuts
- 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup coconut milk
- 1 lb sugar
- 1 vanilla pod , split lengthwise and scraped
- A little oil to coat the pan
Soak the rice in a large container for 3 days at room temperature. Change the soaking water every night.
On the fourth day, rinse the rice and drain for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a food processor, blend rice, baking soda and coconut milk until reaching a thick liquid mixture.
Add the cardamom and vanilla seeds. Blend again.
Add all remaining ingredients and continue to blend.
Pour the cake mixture in a cake pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes.
Poke with a knife after 20 minutes (not before) to check the status of cooking inside the cake.
If the cake is golden but not cooked inside, cover with a tin foil until the end.