Bibikkan (Traditional coconut cake)

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As only 5 days left for Sri Lankan New Year, I decided to make a traditional Sri Lankan sweet that can be used for New Year. We usually make several sweets few days before this day. Usually, whole family get together to do its traditions. Many relatives and friends come for visits during the auspicious time. It is a very festive time for Sri Lankans, so we need many traditional foods to serve many people.

This dish is more like a cake, but with lot of solid texture. If you follow the instructions properly, you will make a fantastic bibikkan even you are a beginner to cooking.

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Ingredients

  • Scraped coconut of a whole coconut
  • 1/2 lobe of jaggery (Kithul or coconut) (hakuru bayak)
  • 150g of semolina (“rulan” in Sinhalese) also called sooji
  • 300 g of finely chopped dates
  • 100g of raisins
  • 150g of raw cashew nuts
  • 200 ml of trickle (coconut or kithul)
  • 1 tbsp of ground roasted cardamom, fennel and cloves seeds  Refer rasakama.com for the recipe.
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • raisins (optional)
  • 100 g of all purpose flour
  • water as needed

Preparation

Semolina (Rulan or Sooji)

In a cooking pot or a pan, start roasting semolina under low temperature. Make sure to stir it continuously to evenly roast all semolina. Once the semolina turns to light golden color, transfer it to a bowl fast. Usually, it will take around 10 – 15 minutes to prepare this. Remember, it is important not to get some of semolina over-burnt (continuous and efficient stirring is the key).

Jaggery

Grate the jaggery using a regular grater or scrape it with a knife safely.

Ground Roasted Cardamom, Fennel and Cloves

Refer to the recipe

Method

First, mix jaggery, treacle and 1 cups of water in a cooking pot and start cooking under high temperature. Once it has been boiling for about 3-5 minutes, add the coconut and the ground roasted cardamom, fennel and cloves . Now, under medium temperature, simmer it while stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Meantime, you can start to preheat the oven to 350 F. After it is done, add semolina and mix thoroughly. Then, take the pot out of the heat and add rest of the ingredients and mix the batter well. You can either hand mix or use and an electric mixer. Now, transfer the batter to a greased baking tray and bake it for 45 minutes on the center-rack.

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Special notes:

  • If you only can find either of treacle or jaggery only, you can substitute the other one with 1 cup of sugar
  • The dark color of the traditional Bibikkan is coming from the color of the jaggery and treackle. If you feel like, the jaggery you have is light-colored, make sugar-caramel-coloring as the first step.(Refer to Sugar-Caramel-coloring recipe in RASAKAMA  )
  • Never add baking powder or self-rising flour and eggs. This recipe is of the traditional Bibikkan. If you will add these, this will become a modern coconut cake.
  • Do not add any other spice-ingredient other than cardamom, fennel and cloves (Eg. Cinnamon, Nutmeg).
  • Traditionally, a long time ago, they steamed and made bibikkan. If you intend to steam the bibikkan, you can substitute wheat flour with raw rice flour. But I highly recommend baking in an oven.
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