Coconut buns with candied ginger and citrus peel.

There is a very pleasant café for visitors at Isha called the Peppervine Eatery. We stopped for a chai break there one day and enjoyed freshly cut wedges from huge rounds of bread stuffed with a coconut filling. Later that afternoon when we were in the Akshaya (kitchen) we watched the baker baking these sweet discs off dozens at a time. They are satisfying without being cloyingly sweet. We asked for the recipe and have scaled it down so you can make eight individual rounds.

Check out the photos and then follow the recipe and you’ll be transported by these wonderful South Indian treats without leaving the comfort of your kitchen.

Equipment: You will need a weigh scale and a small, light rolling pin.


Isha’s Coconut Buns Recipe

Yields
8 buns - may be doubled

Ingredients

For the dough:
4 cups all purpose white flour
½ cup cane sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 teaspoons fast-acting yeast
4 teaspoons unsalted butter (melted)
1½  – 2 cups water – as needed
5 grams gluten – Note: in North America this is not necessary. Our wheat has adequate gluten so there is no need to add more. If you live in India, you will need to add this.
For the coconut mix:
1 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut (or 2 full coconuts grated if you live where they are widely available) or 1 cup rehydrated dried shredded coconut (1 cup coconut needs 3/4 cup of boiling hot water)
1 Tablespoon honey
¼ cup golden raisins
¼ cup diced candied orange peel
¼ cup diced candied ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom (12 – 15 green cardamom pods cracked and seeds ground)
Other:
Milk as needed


Method

  1. Place the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Pour the melted butter in the center followed by about half the water.
  3. Used your fingers to bring the dough together, adding only as much water as you need to create a pliable round.
  4. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes.  
  5. Place the dough back in the bowl (it won’t have risen, it’s just relaxing a bit) and set aside for 20 minutes, covered with a wet cloth.  
  6. Mix the coconut, honey, raisins, orange peel, candied ginger and cardamom in a bowl and set aside.
  7. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  8. Divide the dough into 16 pieces – about 60 grams each.
  9. Use a chappati  or small, light, thin rolling pin to flatten each dough piece into 4-inch diameter by ½-inch thick circles. Set 4 of the rounds, evenly separated, on each parchment-lined baking sheet.
  10. Place 2 Tablespoons of the coconut mix at the center of the 8 dough circles, leaving the edges empty.  
  11. Top each of these with the remaining dough circles and roll the top and bottom edges under to seal the filling within.  
  12. Press firmly in the center so that the filling spreads evenly within the rounds.  
  13. Brush the top and bottom edges of the dough with milk and then set the trays aside for 20 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  15. Place the buns in the preheated and bake until golden brown – about 20–30 minutes.  
  16. Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack.
  17. Enjoy as a light breakfast or chai accompaniment. 

This recipe is courtesy of the Akshaya, Isha Yoga Center, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, South India.

 

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