Mexican Food: Coconut Stuffed Limes or Limones Cocadas
OAXACA, Mexico- Well touted as Frida Kahlo’s favorite snack, a tray full of coconut stuffed limes caught my attention while walking through a park in Oaxaca. They were sitting in a pile inside a plastic wrap covered tray that contained all sorts of other Mexican street sweets. I looked down at them, ask the girl selling them what they were, and she replied, “Limones cocadas.” Simple enough.
I asked the price for one. 10 pesos, or around 80 cents. This seemed a little steep for a single little lime stuffed with coconut, but I was not going to make a measly counter offer — whattya say, how ’bout eight? — as though I am a vagabond, I am not that cheap. I tossed a ten peso piece over the counter. My wife glared at me as though I was offering up our family jewels. “It’s for a travelogue entry, don’t worry.”
I proudly carried my little coconut stuffed lime around the park and began asking the people I found there about it. All the additional information that I could glean was that it was in fact a lime with coconut in it, that it was very sweet, and typical all around Mexico. Fair enough. What else were you expecting, Gringo?
Once back in my room, I sat down to eat the little masterpiece, which was so artfully assembled by hand. I broke it in half and glared inside. The fruit of the lime was so carefully removed that the coconut filling could be pressed inside of the peel fully, like an paleo-anthropologist making a mold of the cranial interior of some proto-human’s skull. The peel was left with just a little slit in it and the coconut mash took the place of the lime. Perfect.
I began eating the coconut first, not yet realizing that the peel, too, is in fact edible. The peel was sticky and candied, sinewy, and had a consistency a little reminiscent of very stale fruit leather. It was all sweet.
Think coconut macaroons wrapped in lime flavored fruit leather.
The lime syrup covered everything, coconut, peel and all. It was incredibly delicious — with the highest degree of meaning accompanying this adjective. Lime and coconut are two of the favorite flavors of Mexico, and combined with an all-engulfing sugary sap, this snack deserves to some famous person’s favorite. Frida Kahlo, apparently, claimed this title.
It was not until later that I found out how intensive the preparation process is to make these coconut stuffed limes. Perhaps it was worth the coin.
How to make coconut stuffed limes, limones cocadas
It generally takes three of four days to make limones cocadas. The coconut stuffed limes are made in two parts: the lime peel and the coconut filling.
First, the complete limes need to be put in a saucepan, covered and simmered until slightly soft. Then you pour everything into a pot, sprinkle with baking soda, and then let them sit out over night at room temperature. The next day, make little slits in the lime peels and gently remove the fruit. Then fill the pot with hot water and put the lime peels back in it. Cover with a lid and towel and let sit over night again. Do this for three or four nights. Then put sugar and water in a pan, add the lime peels, and boil. Let it simmer until the syrup thickens — around an hour.
Now it is time to make the coconut filling. Take the syrup from the pan and boil it again, pour in the coconut mash, stir, and wait until it is thick. Then fill the lime peels with the coconut, and they are ready to eat.
What I have just written above is just a quick summary of what it takes to make these coconut filled limes, for a full recipe that can actually be used, go to Mexican recipes, coconut stuffed limes.