Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cooking Around the World: Curry and Coconut Chutney {Micronesia/Palau}


Though not politically affiliated with Micronesia anymore, Palau is geographically part of the larger island group of Micronesia. And, for that, I'm calling this country done and moving on. I cooked a Palauan feast years ago for a friend's birthday.

Micronesia consists of the Caroline Islands Archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. Initially owned by Spain, Germany purchased the islands before the turn of 19th Century. Japan later occupied the region. Then, in the late 1980s, 600 islands and atolls became self-governing in free association with the United States.

On the food front, they grow: black pepper, tropical fruits and vegetables, coconuts, cassava (tapioca) and pigs. They export fish, bananas, and black pepper.

Palauan food, at least the dishes I selected, were a blend of spicy and sticky and in need a cooling counterpart. Fresh coconut chutney was the perfect foil.

Fresh Coconut Chutney
2 cups freshly grated coconut
1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
sea salt to taste

Combine ingredients and keep in fridge until ready to serve. Will keep for 1-2 weeks.

Lentil and Potato Curry
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 cinnamon stick
6 cloves
4 cardamom
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 small chillies, minced
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp curry powder
1 cup dry lentils
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
salt to taste
1 tomato, chopped
3 cups water

In a medium size pot, heat the olive oil then add the onions, cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. Cook over medium heat, stirring for one minute. Add the minced garlic, tumeric, chillies, ginger and curry powder. Stir and cook for another minute. Add the lentils, potatoes, salt and water. Stir and cover. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the lentils and potatoes are both tender, adding water if necessary. Add tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes more. Serve with rice.

These Culinary Adventurers are headed to Moldova next. I need to get out my atlas for that one!

1 comment:

  1. All I know about Palau is from Survivor! :) That chutney looks wonderfully fresh and delicious.


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