Salara is a coconut stuffed dough, similar to a cinnamon bun. The dough is rich and soft. The coconut stuffing is sweet and cooked with warm spices. When combined they create a baked treat that is sure to satisfy any coconut lover. The coconut filling has a signature red color and people often refer to this sweet bread as red cake.
Years of making salara and tweaking my recipe led to this moment. I am updating and changing my salara recipe. I know the old one was really good and many of you love it, so I am also leaving it in a recipe card at the end of this post. I'm on a mission to update older post. Some I'm just changing the photos and others I am changing the recipe. So look out for some new and exciting things with metemgee.com.
Making the filling
Salara is known for its bright red coconut filling. It is important to use the right food coloring to get that signature bright red color. In this recipe I am using a gel food coloring. Over time I've discovered that this is the best type of coloring. You can use regular liquid food coloring that is readily available but you will need a lot more than the 2 teaspoons of coloring that I recommend for this dish. However, sometimes food coloring can add a bitter taste to the coconut filling, so thread lightly and taste as you go. It is also important to cook the coconut filling for at least 5 minutes, to bring together all the flavors and melt the sugar into the grated coconut.
Filling the Salara
I love my salara over flowing with rich coconut, so I used 4 cups of grated coconuts (about two whole coconuts) for this recipe. Feel free to use less coconut but no less that 3 cups or you will have more dough than coconut filling. And remember the recipe makes two rolls. Roll the dough out to about ¼ inch in thickness. Try not to go much thinner than this or the dough will get punctured with the coconut filling when you are rolling it into a log. It is also important that your filling is completely cool before adding to the dough or it will weaken the dough and cause punctures.
The Salara Step by Steo Video Tutorial:
If you are using frozen grated coconut, be sure to squeeze some (but not all) of the liquids out before combining the coconut with the other ingredients. This will help to avoid the crime scene of red liquid as seen in the photo above. I completely forgot this step while filming for this updated recipe but the salara was still perfect.
Coconut Flakes versus Grated Coconuts
I've made salara with both coconut flakes and grated coconut. I prefer my salara with finely grated fresh coconut but coconut flakes are a worthy substitute. For instructions on how to make the filling using coconut flakes, see below for the recipe card with my original Salara recipe and instructions using coconut flakes. Many many of my followers have used this old recipe and absolutely love it. I only changed the recipe because my children have dairy allergies and I am converting most recipes to dairy free.
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The Printable Updated Salara Recipe (Dairy Free version using fresh or frozen grated coconut) :
For the coconut filling
- 4 cups of grated coconut about two whole coconuts
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of gel red food coloring
For the sugar sling
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup of sugar
For the Dough
- 3 ½ cups of All Purpose Flour plus additional flour for dusting your work surface
- 1 tablespoon of Instant / Rapid Rising Yeast
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup of coconut milk
- ¾ cups of warm water
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- ¼ cup of coconut oil or other fat such as butter lard, shortening, margarine
- 1 beaten egg yolk
- About two tablespoons of room temperature water to seal the salara before baking
Prepare the coconut filling
- In a large pot on medium-low heat combine the grated coconut, sugar, ground cloves and ground cinnamon and mix together well
- Then add the food coloring and mix until all the coconut is coated with the color
- Continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes to bring all of the flavor of the coconut filling together but be careful not to dry the coconut out
- Then set aside and let cool completely
Make a sugar sling or glaze
- Combine the water and sugar in a small pot or saucepan on medium-high heat
- Stir until all the sugar dissolves then bring to a boil and continue for 5 minute or until the mixture reduces to about half
- Then remove from the heat and set aside
Make the dough
- Mix together the coconut milk, sugar and water, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves and set aside (it may be necessary to warm this mixture up before adding to the dry ingredients)
- Then in a large mixing bowl combine the flour, yeast and salt and mix together well
- Next using a fork or your finger tips rub the coconut oil or other fat into the flour mixture
- Then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in preparation for the warm milk, water and sugar solution you prepared earlier
- Add the warm milk, water and sugar solution to the dough and using a whisk combine with some of the dry ingredients to form a smooth batter (as demonstration in the video)
- Then using your hands combine the batter with the remaining dry ingredients in the bowl, to form a very sticky dough
- Next add the remaining ½ cup of flour and knead into a smooth dough ball. This should take about 10 minutes
- Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or damp paper towel and let rise until the dough doubles in size. This should take 45 minutes to an hour
- Once the dough doubles in size turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, then divide the dough into half
- Lightly knead each half into a ball to smooth the edges
- Then roll the dough out into a square (if you can) until it is about ¼ inch thick
- Then cover the rolled out dough with half of the prepared coconut filling, leaving about ½ inch of free space around the edge of the rolled out dough
- Reserve the rest of the filing for the other half of the dough
- Then brush the dough with some room temperature water and roll the dough, starting from one end, into a log
- Then tuck the ends of the log under to seal in the coconut filling
- Repeat steps 11 to 15 for the other piece of dough
Bake the Salara
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Place your salara logs onto a greased baking sheet
- Brush with a beaten egg yolk and bake for 25 at 350°F
- After 25 minutes remove from the oven and immediately brush with the sugar sling/glaze you prepared earlier
- Set aside and allow the salara to cool before slicing and enjoying
The original Salara recipe post October 2013 (using sweetened coconut flakes):
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups flour plus extra for dusting
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 egg separated
- 3 cup shredded coconut store bought, sweetened
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- Combine yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water. Mix together then let stand for about 10 minutes until yeast ferments
- Warm the milk, then dissolve the sugar into the milk
- Add the butter and 1 whole egg to the milk and sugar mixture, then whisk together and set aside
- Next sieve flour, add the salt and mix together
- Then add the fermented yeast and milk mixture a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, followed by the flour and salt mixture
- Mix together to form a soft dough
- Then turn dough onto a floured work surface and knead into a moderately stiff ball
- Then place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, let rise to double in size for about 1 hour.
Make the filling
- Combine all the filling ingredients, mix together well ensuring the coconut is fully covered with the red food coloring. Then set aside.
- Once the dough ball has risen to twice its original size, punch down dough ball then turn the dough ball onto a floured surface, give it a gentle knead to bring it back into a ball
- You can choose to separate the dough into two or keep it as one to make a very large salara
- Then roll the dough (or the two pieces if you choose) into a large rectangle and brush edges with egg white.
- Cover dough with the coconut filling, spreading filling evenly and as close to the edges as possible
- Roll dough lengthwise into a log
- Seal edges and place log or roll on a greased baking pan or sheet.
- Brush roll with whisked egg yolk, cover and the dough proof for 30 minutes before baking
- Preheat oven to 350°F, then bake the salara for 20 - 30 minutes
Make the Glaze
- While the salara is baking, make the glaze by combining the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bringing to a boil
- Let boil for 5 to 10 minutes then remove from the heat
- Once the salara is golden brown, remove from the oven and brush the top with the sugar glaze
- Then let cool, cut into slices and enjoy.
2. I'm using store bought, shredded coconut because that's what I have available where I live. If you are using fresh shredded coconut you will need to add about ¼ cup of sugar to your filling.
3. The glaze is a simple syrup.
4. This makes a pretty huge roll, because the best salara's I've had back home, are usually a large slice that can serve as a meal.
5. It takes a lot of food coloring to get this to the right shade of red. The salara pictured here in my opinion still needs some more food coloring to get to that bright red that salara traditionally gets. I've found that using gel coloring is a lot better than the one I have pictured above.