Chefs' Recipes

O Tama Carey’s fresh kefir curd with kithul, roasted coconut and apple

"The flavours in this cleansing dessert combine to give a taste that's greater than its simple parts would have you imagine," says Carey.
Ben Dearnley
1H 30M
1H 35M

“The flavours in this cleansing dessert combine to give a taste that’s greater than its simple parts would have you imagine,” says Carey. “Buffalo curd is everywhere in Sri Lanka and is often served as a dessert with kithul, a palm-sugar treacle. I make a yoghurt, using kefir and unhomogenised cow’s milk, that I find has a texture similar to buffalo curd. Making your own yoghurt using kefir is a process of trial and error – though relatively easy, the organic quality of the kefir grain can cause things to happen in unexpected ways. This recipe makes more than you’ll need, but the curd will keep for a good few weeks in the fridge. Feel free to substitute your favourite yoghurt instead.” Start this recipe a day ahead to make the curd.


Kefir curd



1.For kefir curd, combine kefir grains and 200ml milk in a jar, then set aside at room temperature until thick and curds start to form (12-24 hours; this is called clabber). Remove and reserve grain (it can be reused to make fresh clabber). Place remaining milk in a saucepan and stir over gentle heat so it doesn’t scald at the bottom and no skin forms at the top. Heat milk to 85C (1¼-1½ hours), then keep temperature stable, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir now and again until temperature drops to 43C (20-30 minutes), you can speed this part up by placing the saucepan into an ice bath. Once the milk is at the right temperature, add a few ladles to 100gm clabber and stir to thin and combine. Add kefir mixture to milk in saucepan and stir to combine. You’ll have about 1.6 litres. Pour milk mixture into one or two sterilised jars (see cook’s notes p177) and incubate in a warm place, ideally at 40C (I wrap my jars in a towel and place them in an oven that has a little residual heat) until set (6-8 hours). Refrigerate kefir curd to chill.
2.Preheat oven to 150C. Spread coconut over an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (10-15 minutes). Cool.
3.Divide curd among bowls. Grate apple and add to bowls, drizzle with kithul syrup, sprinkle over roasted coconut and serve with extra kithul syrup for your guests to pour over at whim.

Happily, you should be able to find frozen fresh grated coconut in Asian grocers if you don’t want to grate your own. Failing that, substitute desiccated coconut, but you’ll need to add a splash or two of water as you cook. Kithul syrup or treacle is extracted from the flowers of the kithul palm and is available from Sri Lankan grocers. Kefir grains, a yeast culture, are available as water or milk kefir grains and are available online from specialist suppliers such as Unhomogenised milk is available from select grocers, such as Harris Farm Markets.

Drink Suggestion: Crisp sweet sparkling cider. Drink suggestion by Max Allen


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