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

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

#comfortfood: Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco with Bean Ragout

As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Ambassadors ( I'm the Monterey #FRD2014 rep! ) I will be sent a copy of his latest cookbook - to cook from and write about. I can't wait. I do have to laugh though, because its title is  Comfort Food . And, according to a good friend:  I only make uncomfortable food . Oh, well. I can learn! To celebrate launch day - today - I'm sharing one of the recipes. Here's Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco alla Milanese recipe from his new cookbook, Comfort Food. And here's my adaptation. I typically don't eat veal, so I went to our local butcher for some lamb shanks sliced into an osso buco-style cut; but they had just sold their last shanks. Darn. But then I noticed the "never to roam" on the veal package and decided to go for it. I added in shelling beans to make a ragout and served it over wild rice instead of risotto. Also, I used lots of different herbs in my gremolata instead of just pa

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