Teias de Aranhas
Teias de Aranhas or Gons as the Goans call it is a tender coconut candy. It is traditionally prepared and set on circular butter paper or colored paper doilies. Every time my parents or my friends make a trip to Goa, it is on the list of things I want. Goa sausages are next! Sadly, I haven’t had it in years.
I made these today to celebrate the birthday of a very special friend. It is a simple recipe and trust me you cannot stop at one.
· 140 gms tender coconut flesh (not too tender)
· 140 gms sugar
· 65 ml water
· Vanilla essence, a few drops
· A pinch of salt
If you have a tender coconut vendor, he will scoop the tender coconut flesh for you. With the lockdown I had to do this at home. It was a bit tricky because the coconut pieces should be intact. Ensure that you scrap the brown part. I barely managed that.
Cut tender coconut in thin slices but not too thin. I used my mandolin to do this. Keep it soaked in water for 2 or 3 hours.
In the mean while, prepare your parchment paper. I had lots of doilies so I put them to use. I also used a thick plastic sheet to set these beauties. Keep a fork or spoon ready.
After 2 hours, drain the water using a sieve and set aside.
In a heavy bottom pan, add sugar and water and stir till the sugar melts. Add the drained coconut strips and continue cooking on medium heat for 10 minutes. Make sure you watch it and stir often. Add a pinch of salt and some vanilla essence.
After ten minutes, drop the heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes and stir continuously. When it is almost ready the sugar syrup will bubble and the coconut strips will look transparent. The sugar syrup will start leaving the sides. Here is the tricky part: You should remove this from the gas while there is still some moistness left. Remove it a minute later and you will get granules on the finished product instead of a glaze or smooth finish.
If you do get granules sweat not. Please return the batch or only those portions of it and add a little water. The sugar will melt and you cook it a little longer.
You will need to work quickly now. Pinch a few strands of the candied coconut using tongs and place on parchment paper. Do this quickly as the extra syrup will solidify. Spread the candied coconut with the help of a fork or spoon to resemble Aranhas(Portuguese for webs) and leave the gons to dry for 2 or 3 hours. With the hot weather here in Mumbai, these were set in 2 hours.
Basically you need equal portions of tender coconut and sugar. You will need just enough water. The above is the measurement of one tender coconut. You can increase the recipe accordingly.
To clean the vessel, add some water to the vessel and bring it to a boil.