A week ago Friday we had a raw food lab at The Natural Epicurean where the students worked with dehydrated coconut puree wrappers. “Dehydrated coconut puree wrappers?” you ask. Well, if you open some (okay, 36) fresh coconuts and scoop out the meat…
… then you blend up the meat with some liquid, maybe some sweeteners and/or some spices…
… then spread out the puree onto a dehydrator tray …
… the result (after one hour of dehydrating) is a pliable gluten-free wrapper that has tons of applications. We did three types of coconut wrappers (1) sweet banana coconut (2) seasoned Indian samosa “dough” and (3) Italian “pasta” for raviolis. To go with each type of coconut wrapper, we prepared a wide array of fillings: fruit, sweet “cream,” fruit puree, raw ricotta, cauliflower and peas, and more.
Below: Banana-coconut wrapper for raw fruit crepes. You can see the raw samosa filling just above that.
Raw “cooking” is not quite like regular cooking, but the result of the lab was three amazing dishes which we raved over. My favorite was the ravioli with raw ricotta – it was rich and delicious. The raw samosas with mango-cilantro chutney were outstanding, as were the sweet papaya-mango crepes. The coconut wrappers had a slight chewiness that I thought perfectly matched the texture you’d expect in a regular ravioli and very similar to a conventional crepe. Samosas are usually crispy on the outside, which is tough to achieve in raw food, but the flavors were definitely there.
The main challenge in making these wrappers is that they have a tendency to stick to the Paraflexx sheets. You just have to be careful when peeling the non-stick Paraflexx sheets from the dehydrating coconut puree. Usually you need to go through this procedure so you can flip the dehydrated product over to ensure thorough drying.
The great thing about learning the dehydrated coconut wrapper technique is that it has loads of applications. You can season the wrappers any number of ways, then fill them and top them using a variety of options. Your only limit is your creative mind. We were lucky to have had Chef Alicia Ojeda work with us yet again on on this lab – her talent for flavor and texture really made everything a success.
Here’s an idea – dehydrated burrito wrapper made from coconut! Cumin and chili powder…I think it’s a winner. Maybe I will test it out and report back. Tough to do beans using raw method, though.