Skip to main content

Cooking Around the World: Fiji

We kicked off our 'F' countries - in this cooking around the world adventure of ours - with an easy Friday foray into Fijian cooking.

Fiji is comprised of 300 mountainous islands populated with a multi-cultural society formed by people from Polynesia, India, Melanesia, China and several European countries. And the complex cuisine of Fiji reflects the culinary influence of different cultures.

The Dutch introduced the local population to the sea cucumbers. The British brought cattle and some exotic fruits from Africa and the Americas. Indian cuisine developed in this country because of the Indian slaves that the British brought here to work on the sugar plantations.

Present day Fiji cuisine is a great mixture of Polynesian, Indian, Melanesian, Chinese and Western cuisine. Some of the most used ingredients in Fiji cuisine are yam, breadfruit, cassava, taro root (dalo) and leaves (rourou). Beef, poultry, pork and seafood are an integral part of Fijian food.

 Shrimp in Coconut Cream

3 T butter
2 bay leaves
1 3-inch piece cinnamon
5 cardamom pods, crushed
1-1/2 pounds large uncooked shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 one-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 T white whole wheat flour
3 T ground almonds
2 C coconut cream (not coconut milk)
salt to taste
1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

Heat the butter in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Add the ginger, onion, and garlic, and saute until the onion is softened. Add the flour and almonds and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the coconut cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Return the shrimp to the curry, add salt to taste, and simmer for about 8 minutes. Add the lemon or lime juice, stir, and remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaves and the cinnamon. Serve over rice garnished with the cilantro leaves and sliced almonds. 
Coconut-Cassava Cake
adapted from The Polynesian Kitchen here
I liked the idea of this Fijian cassava cake that has nothing more than cassava, coconut, coconut milk, butter, and sugar; the Filipino cassava cake is far too sticky sweet with sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and sugar, sugar, and more sugar. I am not a fan, needless to say. But since the recipe from the Polynesian kitchen didn't include any proportions, I was winging it. It wasn't my favorite, but I did succeed in making a less sweet cassava cake, so that was a triumph.
1 packet grated cassava (in the frozen section of the Filipino store), thawed
1 packet of young coconut (in the frozen section of the Filipino store), thawed
1/2 C organic granulated sugar
1 can coconut milk
1 egg
Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl until you have a well-blended batter. Pour into a buttered baking dish and bake - at 350 degrees - until the cake is set. Serve as is or with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
This Global Table Ambassador is signing off for now. We're headed to Finland next.


Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an