Put a saucepan over a medium heat and drop in the coconut. Toast for a few mintues, stirring occassionally. Be careful not to leave the pan, because it will burn quickly.
Transfer the coconut to a bowl and set aside. Using a dry bit of kitchen paper, wipe the inside of the pan to remove any extra bits of coconut.
Put the pan back on a medium heat and add the vermicelli. If you have bought the kind that comes entwined like a bird’s nest, just gently crush it in your palms and drop it into the pan
Toast the vermicelli for about 5 minutes, or until the strands are golden brown. Make sure you keep stirring and moving the noodles around – they toast unevenly, which makes them a beautiful patchy brown colour. If you need to walk away for a minute or so while you are toasting, just take the pan off the heat.
As soon as the noodles are ready, add the cinnamon, bay leaf and cardamom pod and toast for another 2 minutes. You will know it is ready when your nostrils are filled with the aroma of these beautiful whole spices.
Now add the coconut oil. If your oil is still in solid form, just stir it around until it has melted and coated the vermicelli.
Stir in the coconut cream, then add the sugar and cook gently on a low heat so the spices to infuse and the mixture thickens – this can take about 10 minutes. Don’t cover the pan or it could boil over. You will know it is ready when the bubbles slow down and the mixture has thickened and reduced.
Pour into bowls and sprinkle with the toasted coconut flakes.