Monday, October 15, 2012

My Version of Coconut Bacon

Spicy Smoky Coconut Bacon
I was first introduced to coconut bacon when I first visited the Phoney Baloney's Sandwich Shop in Irvine.  My first reaction was WHAT?  How strange? However, after tasting their gluten-free VEGAN ELVIS sandwich which includes peanut butter, banana , house made coconut bacon on toasted whole wheat sourdough , I was sold.  The owner of this shop gave me a taste of  his house made 'bacon' just by itself.  Yum!  I asked him what to put into the coconut flake to make the bacon and he gave some ideas but not a recipe.

I started searching  the Internet and VOILA, many results, this coconut bacon IS popular among vegetarians!  It was first created by Chef Jesse Kimball from the Memphis Taproom, a non vegan chef.  This is what I learned from chubby vegetarian blog.  In Memphis Taproom, Cheff Kimball serves vegan club sandwich with smoked coconut with added spices so it tastes like bacon. Brilliant!

Since this discovery, I've been making coconut bacon at home and use it as toppings for salad, vegetable dish, or just munch them as snacks.  It is also great for BLT or BLAT, or club sandwich.  My version of the coconut bacon includes ground CAYENNE  to add some spicyness.  It adds a bit of bite to it.
Ingredients used from top left, clockwise:  dry unsweetened coconut large flakes, low sodium tamari, onion powder, liquid smoke, cayenne pepper and garlic granules (black pepper, maple syrup and toasted sesame oil are not shown).

I love to use this brand of dry unsweetened organic large coconut flake:  Let's Do Organic.  I know that Chef Kimball uses a fresh coconut and smoke it but I am just too lazy to do that.  This brand of coconut is cut pretty thin.  Although I have also used the Bob's Red Mill brand.  Which ever you can find will be good as long as the coconut is cut thin, the flake is large, and is unsweetened.

Spicy Smoky Coconut Bacon
Makes 5 cups (make a lot all at once and store them in a tight container)

1/2 cup Tamari, low sodium
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. onion powder
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder  (1/4 tsp if you want is SPICY)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

5 cups dry unsweetened coconut large flakes
  1. Combine thoroughly all of the the marinade ingredients above in a bowl (without the coconut flakes).
  2. Then, add the coconut flakes and gently stir them to combine with the marinade. Stir gently so not to break the large flakes. I like to let it sit for about 1 hour since the coconut flake is dry I want the coconut to soak in the marinade.
  3. After about 1 hours, preheat oven to 325 F. Layer 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil (parchment works better). Then, spray them with canola oil spray.
  4. Layer the marinated flakes, as single layer as possible, on the 2 cookie sheets. Do not pour leftover marinade sauce onto the sheets since we want to bake them to dry.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Take them out and stir. The flakes should be slighly brown by now. 
  6. Then, bake them again for 5 more minutes. At this point keep watching so they don't get burnt. It is easy to burn them so be careful.  Depending on how hot your oven is. Take them out and stir and check. The baked flakes should still be WET but the flakes are BROWNED and all liquid marinade is ABSORBED. If the flakes are too wet, after stirring them, bake them again for another 3-5 minutes but keep checking.
  7. How do you know when they are done? The flakes will still be limp and  brown but not burnt. The flakes should NOT BE CRISPY when you take them out of the oven. They will be crispy during the cooling down process. Leave the flakes on the cookie sheets and let them cool. As they cool they will become crispy and dry. When they are cool, rake them gently with a fork and pick out the ones stuck to the parchment paper or foil. Store in a tight jar and last for 2 months. 


    Note:  if they are not crispy when they are already cool, put is in a 250 F for 5 minutes and then let them cool again.
Spread marinated coconut flakes onto a cookie sheet.

After they are baked, let them cool until they turned crispy and dry.


4 comments:

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

These look great, Debbie-- another recipe I have to try!

Spice Island Vegan said...

Thanks Bryanna. This is easy to do.

Anonymous said...

This recipe looks amazing! I keep trying to save it to one of my boards on Pinterest, but it isn't working. Do you know if there's a problem with the Pin it button?

Spice Island Vegan said...

Yeah, I think the problem is in pinterest. I'll contact them since I can't log in with them.