Hmmmmn, where do I start with tales of Baba Dudu? I really don’t know where to, honestly. Why it is even called Baba Dudu, I’m sure no one knows. It is one of those tags you just accept because that’s what everyone calls it, and who really cares what it is called, it is the taste that you remember forever. Lol. Baba dudu is basically a Coconut caramel. It is Dulce de leche but with Coconut milk rather than condensed milk.
My mum didn’t let us have Baba Dudu and for good measure. It is too sweet. She said it will spoil our teeth and it is not hygienic because it is homemade and you are not sure their hands were clean while it was moulded into the long cylindrical shape. She probably added that part to scare us off, as we were certified germophobes. Nevertheless, I used to sneak out to buy Baba Dudu from the Mallam across the street. The sight of the long stringy cellophane dark brown melt in your mouth Sweet was a huge thrill.
Coupled with the fact that it was banned, made it all the more sweeter, and my sister the little snitch threatened to tell Mummy. The best way to shut her up was to offer her some of course. Blackmail started waaaaay early for many of us with younger siblings. Lol. She is 5 years younger than me and just as stubborn, so the age gap didn’t really mean anything to her no matter how hard I tried to remind her of it. Lol. Funny part is that, when our brother was born, she tried to lord her “seniority” over him as he was 5 years younger than her too. Nah, it didn’t work. A boy for that matter, even made it worse. With the male female dynamic, age means nothing to boys and immediate elder sisters because they try to assert their manliness from an early age. I’m sure those of you with immediate younger brothers can testify. Both of them used to fight like cats and dogs and I simply sat back and let her have it, whilst laughing my head off. Karma eh? See how it feels now. Lol.
I always thought Baba dudu was made with condensed milk and sugar. Don’t ask me where that thought came from. I was corrected by Oyinlola from my favourite Facebook Group, So You Think You Can Cook (if you haven’t joined yet, you are missing an entire encyclopaedia of Cooking tips). She said no Dunni, it is made with Coconut milk and sugar like most Isale Eko snacks e.g. Gurudi (recipe HERE), chuku chuku (don’t ask me for the english translation, please) and Coconut candy. I even queried the ingredients, because I couldn’t remember Baba dudu having any taste of coconut in it. She responded with, try it out and the memory will come racing back, sharply. Of course I did, and I am sharing it with you guys now, tips and all. My very first time making Baba dudu. I wish I could have recorded it, because the joy on my face, must have been priceless. The brain is an amazing organ, for its capacity to store memories. I haven’t tasted Baba dudu since I was 9 I think, and suddenly, I had all these memories flooding back. Thank you Oyinlola, for helping me unlock some of my sweetest childhood memories. Bless you dear.
You will need
1 cup of Coconut Milk
1 cup of Sugar
…………..yes, that’s all you need. Honestly, that’s it. Lol
1. Combine the coconut milk and sugar in a pot and place on the cooker turned up to high. Do NOT add any water
2. Watch the solution boil. Oyinlola had mentioned that it tends to boil over, so use a deep pot. I had totally forgotten about that, till I saw the mixture start to boil.
I watched it and thought nah, it won’t boil over. Er, after 1 minute or two I realised I was looking at a potential disaster, I quickly transferred to a deeper pot. Lol
3. At this point the mixture still looks like Coconut milk. That is about to change, as with more heat, the sugar will caramelise and start turning brown
Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: once this happens, get out the whisk and start whisking to evenly spread out the caramel
4. As the mixture gets hotter, it not just changes colour, but thickens too. You will start to see circular shaped bubbles. Let me gross you out a little bit, the mixture will start to look like a human brain. Eeeeew, right? Lol
5. Keep it on the heat, and let it continue boiling. Make sure you are whisking constantly so it doesn’t burn
at this stage, something starts to happen. Well it did for me. The caramel started developing sugar crystals at the top. I still don’t know why. I had the windows open, so it could be the interaction with cold air. With whisking, the crystals dissolved back into the caramel
6. Now, the colour has deepened, and the caramel is becoming a thick sludge, at this point lower the heat a little bit, otherwise it will burn, giving off a burnt taste, and it will also harden very fast, you won’t be able to get it out of the pot. Make sure you keep whisking.
7. The colour will further deepen into the Baba Dudu we all know and love. Before you take it off the heat, make sure the caramel is glistening. It should have a shiny look to it, as if you added oil.
see the shine? Remember, you can also extract Coconut oil from Coconut milk. Then you take it off the heat and pour immediately on a greased sheet. Greased, so that you can lift it off, otherwise it will stick to the sheet. I was too excited when I tasted it, I poured some into moulds.
While I was scooping into moulds from the pot, I forgot that Oyinlola said, pour it out from the pot. After just 2 moulds, oops, the caramel had hardened so much I could only scoop it out with a spoon. Don’t make that mistake. These are the only two moulds I could photograph, so I sat down with the rest in the pot with glee, licking away as I watched TV that Sunday evening. I was sooooo happy, I don’t know if it was the sugar, or the nostalgia. Lol. If you live abroad, this is one of the ways you can share foods from your childhood with your kids. I have arm twisted my friend to bring my godson over for this purpose. I said to her, Chris is never going to grow up eating Baba Dudu, 9ja style. So, let him share in that experience too, not the same, but close. When next you have guests, especially guests with kids, make a batch of Baba Dudu and watch how the conversation shifts to good old times and swap Baba Dudu stories.
I decided to make it again, partly because my colleagues were jealous I finished my first batch without taking some to them and partly because of Chris. So, here’s my 2nd batch moulded in my palms, rolled in desiccated coconut and plated pretty in a Coconut shell that looked like a sail boat. Hence the topic of this post. Lol.
……………..Enjoy the pictures