This is the Aleppian Jews sweet choice for passover. Freshly grated coconut meat is best to use here, but requires a little work; break open a coconut with a hammer, drain out the liquid and pry out the meat with a dinner knife. Peel off the thin brown skin with a sharp knife. Great the meat. If you use store-bought coconut, be sure it is unsweetened.
900 grams fresh coconut meat, shredded, (2 to 3 coconuts), or store-bought unsweetened coarsely shredded coconut
2 cups sugar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp orange blossom water
1 cup pistachios, shelled and peeled
In a medium saucepen, combine all ingredients but pistachios. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally with a wooden spoon.
While the mixture is still hot, stir in the pistachios. Mix well and cool before serving.
* If using store-bought coconut, place in a mixing bowl and cover with cold water. Gently fluff the coconut with your hands and let stand for 1 hour to plump and moisten the flakes. Drain before using.
The flavors of this stew develop as it simmers slowly in the oven. Vietnamese cooks often use caramel syrup to sweeten the dishes, but I find that oyster sauce just works as well. Any earthenware baking dish can be used here, but an oven-safe Dutch oven or heavy skillet will also work.
This recipe is similar to Persian rice, with golden, crunchy crust that sticks to the bottom of the pot. However, Persian rice uses butter, while the Jewish Aleppian style substitutes oil to meet Jewish dietary restrictions.