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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mứt Dừa (Candied Coconut Ribbons)

RECIPE: Mứt Dừa 
1. Lấy toàn thể 12 tháng trong năm đem rửa sạch mùi cay đắng, ghen tị, thù oán…rồi để cho ráo nước
2. Tuần tự cắt mỗi tháng ra 28, 30, hay 31 phần.
3. Trộn đều với : – Một chút tin yêu – Một chút kiên nhẫn – Một chút can đảm – Một chút cố gắng – Một chút hy vọng – Một chút trung thành
4. Ướp thêm gia vị: lạc quan, tự tin và hài hước
5. Rồi đem ngâm một lát trong dung dịch “Những điều tâm niệm của mình”.
6. Vớt ra, xây nhỏ, đổ tất cả vào “Nồi yêu thương” và nấu với lửa “Vui mừng”.
7. Đem ra ăn với “Nụ cười” trong chén “Bao dung”.

Oops...sorry! that wasn't the Mứt Dừa recipe but it's sure is a wonderful recipe isn't it? There is a few more recipes that I wanted to make for the Year of the Dragon but time is running out. Looks like Mứt Dừa will be the last post until next year. 

Mứt Dừa wasn't on my Tet list until I saw coconuts at Bel Air. The other day, while we were at an Asian market, my younger daughter saw Mứt Dừa and wanted me to buy it for her. It seemed like all the Mứt are made in Vietnam. I hesitated to buy it as I've heard horrible stories about what goes in them. I promised that I will make Mứt Dừa for her instead.  Today, my girls and I had so much fun prepping for Mứt Dừa. They were fascinated with the whole process of extracting the pulp from the coconut. First, the juice had to be drained by poking the eyes on the coconut. Next the shell was cracked and the coconut meat was pried from the shell. They had a blast being silly by wearing those shells on the heads.

We made four different colors using the beet extract for pink, turmeric powder for yellow, pandan extract for green and the coconut in its natural form for white. My favorite are the beautiful green and white coconut ribbons. The yellow coconut is just a little too yellow and pink is not as saturated as I had hoped. But my girls couldn't stop munching on these nutty, buttery, rich coconut ribbons coated with sugar. 
RECIPE: Mứt Dừa 


2 coconuts
2 cups sugar
1 bag vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon salt, for soaking the coconut ribbons
1 teaspoon beet juice, for red color, optional
(click here for natural beet coloring recipe)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, for yellow color, optional
1/3 teaspoon pandan extract, for green color, optional 
Preparing Coconut

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Using an oyster knife or a screw driver pierce holes in 2 of the three eyes and pour out the juice. 

You can use the coconut juice to make Thịt Trứng Kho Tàu or just drink it if it's sweet. Use a meat tenderizer or a hammer to crack the coconut open. 

Put the coconut on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. The heat will loosen the meat from the shell. 

Remove coconut from oven. Holding it with a dish towel, use a small knife or an oyster knife to pry out the meat. Try to keep the pieces as large as possible.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave off the brown skin from the white coconut meat. Rinse the meat to remove any excess bits of brown skin. use a slicer or a sharp knife, slice or cut the meat into thin ribbons of at least 2 inches long. Keep coconut ribbons in salt and water bowl. 

Rinse and drain coconut ribbons and set aside.

Mixing Coconut Ribbons

In a large bowl, combine coconut ribbons and the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Let it sit until sugar dissolved. If you want to make coconut ribbons in 4 different colors, divide the mixed coconut in a four separate bowls and mix the colors to your liking.

Simmering Coconut Ribbons

In a large pan, add ribbons and bring heat to high. When the sugar starts bubbling, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly to expose the ribbons evenly to the syrup. They will gradually become silvery and soften.

The ribbons will soon turn white, become dry looking and stiffen. Keep stirring. The sugar will first cling to the ribbons and then flake off in white, sandy bits. When the ribbons are covered by a dry, sandy sugar film, they are done.

Remove from the stove and let the coconut ribbons cool completely. Transfer them to an airtight container and discard the powdery sugar.

Enjoy candied coconut ribbons with a cup of hot tea!


  1. Ms. Loan, you are on a roll! Thank you so much for the "Tet" recipes you've managed to share with us despite the busy time for you. Keep up the good work. Chuc Mung Nam Moi

  2. Ms. Loan, If I can find vanilla sugar in the store, how can I mix up a batch at home? Thank you!

  3. Anh: you meant if you can't find vanilla sugar? You can also use vanilla powder or pure vanilla extract.

  4. chi Loan oi, your coconuts look older than the ones I see at my local market. Is if okay if I use young coconuts? Thank you for the recipe!

  5. You're right... Bel air had only one coconut with light shell left but i needed 2 , so I bought another one with a darker shell. If you find coconut with lighter color of the shell, get it.

  6. If you get the coconut that is too young, it might not have enough meat to make Mứt Dừa. So choose the one as I've shown in the picture with the lighter brown outer shell.

  7. I tried making this but the sugar did not recrystallize. i cooked it on low for 20 minutes but the sugar and coconut just turn brown but stayed sticky

  8. Ms. Loan, where are you? I hope you and your family are ok. Come back soon please. We miss you!

  9. Hi Ann, I am still around :-) My mind was preoccupied with too many things to blog. I probably need a couple more months before everything gets back to the way it was. Thanks for thinking of me. I really appreciate it.

  10. Sorry to hear that your coconut ribbons didn't turn out as expected. Did you stir it constantly?

  11. I tried making it again, this time I added some water to the sugar and it worked. Glad you're back with new post.

  12. can i add food coloring to the recipes because i dont know where to get the coloring as you suggested. also when i cook it on the pan or pot do i leave the salt in there or do i need to get rid of the salt and add new clean water?

    Thanks, ps im from Vietnam, where are you from?

  13. Yes you can use food coloring. There won't be salt in the coconut as you have already rinsed it off with water after parboiled it.
    If you can remove the coconut meat from the shell easily then skip the baking process.
    Iam from the United States. Have fun making mut dua :-)

  14. is it necessary to add vanilla sugar because i can't seem to find them in the store, is there anything i can add to it?

    1. You don't need to add vanilla sugar. You can add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract but it's not necessary.

  15. Dear Loan,

    Would you happen to know someone sell home-made mut? My friend is looking to purchase some for Tet.