Coconut-Chile Palapa Sauce
Yield: Makes about 4 cups
This spicy-sweet-funky Filipino condiment is delicious on grilled fish, chicken, tacos, sandwiches, grain bowls, noodles, eggs, burgers… pretty much anything you can think of will be improved by a dab or two.
1 fresh coconut
16 red Thai chiles
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
¼ cup vegetable oil
1½ heads of garlic, separated into cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped
1 bunch scallions, trimmed, chopped
6 makrut lime leaves, thinly sliced, or 1½ teaspoons finely grated lime zest
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt
Cut coconut in half by holding it in one hand and striking firmly with the back (blunt side) of a heavy knife or cleaver, rotating the coconut and hitting around the equator until it splits. Whack coconut halves with the back of knife to loosen meat from shell. Shred coconut meat using the large holes of a box grater or the shredding blade of a food processor.
Pulse chiles in a food processor until finely chopped (this is to save your hands and nose from their intense heat; if you chop by hand, use gloves!). Transfer to a small bowl.
Grind mushrooms in spice mill or with mortar and pestle (you can also use food processor again) until reduced to a powder.
Toast coconut in a dry wok or large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until deeply browned in spots (just this side of burnt) 15-20 minutes. Transfer to another small bowl.
Heat oil in wok over medium-low. Cook garlic, ginger, and scallions, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in chopped chiles, mushroom powder, toasted coconut, lime leaves, sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown and very aromatic, about 5 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Do Ahead: Palapa can be made 3 months ahead. Cover and chill.
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