Sunday, 5 February 2012

Q is for... Qumbe

Qumbe is a traditional Somalian coconut pudding I discovered while researching my menu and trying to find something (anything!) that began with the letter Q that Richard might not have heard of. I found lots of recipes that were largely the same - a toffee goo made up of coconut, milk, sugar and cardamom, then pressed down in a tin to set before slicing into squares. I wondered if it might taste similar to that 1980s staple of my childhood: coconut ice, which I never really liked to eat but was a popular treat with others in the Glass household, so I made it continuously until I got bored and moved on to something else. I'm pleased to report that qumbe is much more delicious than coconut ice and is strangely moreish, even if you have already eaten your weight in quesadillas, quail, quinoa and quaking pudding. 


This recipe is an amalgamation of lots of different recipes I found on the internet.

180 ml/ 6 fl.oz whole milk
100g/ 4oz caster sugar
100g/ 4oz desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
6-8 cardamom pods, pods smashed open and the little seeds ground in a pestle and mortar

Line a small square tin with baking parchment and sprinkle the paper with desiccated coconut.

Place the milk and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Chuck in the cardamom and coconut and stir over a low heat until the coconut has absorbed all the liquid and continue to stir for around five minutes. Pour the coconut mixture out into the tin, press it down firmly and smooth over the top. Sprinkle over more desiccated coconut and leave the mixture to cool before popping it in the fridge for about half an hour to set. Turn out the qumbe and slice into squares and serve.

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