To make fresh coconut milk, add 1/2 cup warm water to 1 1/2 cups of freshly grated coconut and blend into as much of a paste as possible. Using your hand or a fine-meshed sieve, squeeze out the milk from the ground coconut. Strain if necessary before using. This should give you about 3/4 cup of coconut milk.
Discard the squeezed out coconut solids or pan roast it till brown and add it to the other ingredients before grinding to make a version of this spicy and dry chutney powder.You can knead the dough by hand or use the food processor like I did.
First, pan roast the fine semolina till it gives off a nutty aroma but do not brown. Let it cool to room temperature.
Put the flour, roasted semolina, salt, sugar and butter/ oil into the food processor bowl. Break the egg into this and run the processor a couple of times till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Now add about half of the coconut milk and process, adding just as much more of the coconut milk as is required to obtain a smooth, elastic and pliable dough which is just short of sticky.
Turn out the dough onto your work surface and knead some more if necessary, wetting your palms with coconut milk till you have a dough of desired consistency. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and keep aside for a couple of hours so that the semolina swells up and softens.
After the dough has rested, it is ready to be moulded. You can use a Kulkul mould, the teeth an unused and clean fine-toothed plastic comb or the tines of a fork to roll the Kulkuls.
Pinch off little bits of dough and roll them into smooth balls a little larger than a pea, using lightly greased palms. Work with one little ball at a time leaving the rest of them covered so they don’t dry out. If you can find a clean unused plastic fine toothed comb use that, else the tines of a fork will do just as well. Lightly grease teeth of the comb or the tines of a fork. Use the back of the tines to shape the Kulkuls. You might take a look at this video to get a better idea of how to shape the Kulkuls. It is like shaping gnocchi.
Place one small ball of dough on the back of the fork tines. Using your fingers, press down lightly and flatten the dough into a uniformly thin rectangular shape that covers the tines. Roll the rectangle from one end to the other and seal the edge well without losing the indentations formed by the tines. This is your Kulkul. Place it on a lightly greased plate/ tray. Use up the dough making Kulkuls this way.
Heat the oil in a wok. Do not let the oil become too hot. If you drop a bit of dough (or 1 Kulkul) into the oil and it bubbles up and rises to the surface your oil is the right temperature. Hotter oil will cause the Kulkuls to brown quickly without cooking them inside.
Once the oil is hot enough, drop as many Kulkuls as will comfortably go into the oil. Once they come up, using a slotted spoon, keep turning them over frequently so they cook and brown uniformly. Once they are done and golden brown colour, take them out and drain on paper towels.
If you are going to, this is the time to dust them with powdered sugar. Otherwise leave them as they are store them in airtight container once they have cooled completely.
If you plan to glaze them, preferably the next day, heat the sugar and water in a pan while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil and allow the sugar to form a syrup that coats the spoon or is of one thread consistency.
Drop the Kulkuls into this syrup and shake the pan, or use a spoon to mix everything so the Kulkuls are evenly coated with sugar syrup. Transfer the Kulkuls to a plate quickly, separating them with a fork so they do not stick to each other. Let them cool and dry out. Then store in an airtight container. If you like your Kulkuls frosted with sugar (kids love these), just make a thicker syrup (soft ball stage).
This recipe makes a small batch of Kulkuls, probably enough to serve a family with tea or coffee. If you plan on making enough to distribute to friends and the neighbourhood, double, triple or quadruple the recipe. I just hope that’s enough for everyone!