Recipe: Tuvalu Tuna

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If you ever make it to Tuvalu, you might as well snatch the Tuna straight out of the water, fillet it in the boat, and enjoy the mild fish right then and there. No cooking required. That’s the local way.

But for those who are looking for something a little more tame, Tuna Curry is an authentic, delicious option.

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The recipe is very typical of the Pacific: it includes locally caught fish and coconut milk from harvested from the in the back yard, plus a bunch of imported ingredients. Imports are necessary because very little can grow in Tuvalu.

The curry powder exudes Indian influence, which runs rampant in Oceania, as well as soy sauce, a definite nod to Tuvalu’s Asian neighbors. Even things like ginger and garlic are imported.

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Shipments of goods arrive once a month, weather permitting. This means, if you’re pantry runs dry, and the store runs out, then you’ll just have to wait until the giant vessel anchors offshore.

And when it does? All hands on deck…

Cargo is offloaded from tenders that transfer passengers & cargo between the inter-island ferries and each of the outer islands of Tuvalu (here on the island of Niutao). A hazardous exercise, fraught with risk for passengers & the crew of the tenders. Photo by Cesqld.

Cargo is offloaded from tenders that transfer passengers & cargo between the inter-island ferries and each of the outer islands of Tuvalu (here on the island of Niutao). A hazardous exercise, fraught with risk for passengers & the crew of the tenders. Photo by Cesqld.

Recipe adapted from Andy Explores.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
hot red chilies, optional, as desired
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 can coconut milk
4 green onions
1 cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, and sliced
2-4 Tbsp soy sauce, to taste

1 lb raw, cubed tuna steaks

Method:

So let’s fly to Tuvalu.

Say “Tālofa,” or “hello,” to your new friends.

 

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Tuvaluan kids watching plane land at Funafuti International Airport. Photo by lirneasia.

Get settled, then find the nearest kitchen.

Preferably near the water.

School on Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu. Photo by Mrlins.

School on Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu. Photo by Mrlins.

Perfect. Let’s get cooking.

Heat up some vegetable oil into a large skillet or wok. Cook the onions over medium-high heat until softened, about five minutes. Add on the ginger, garlic, red chilies (if using), and curry powder. Reduce heat to medium and cook until fragrant and your house smells like a home.

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Next, stir in the coconut milk. Pile on the green onion and cucumber.

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Season with soy sauce (to taste) and add in the tuna.

Tip: Don’t be shy with the soy sauce. It really brightens the dish in an unexpected (and addicting) way.

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Cook until delicious, keeping your tuna as rare (or as cooked) as you’d like it.

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Serve with rice (coconut rice, would be even more authentic)

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And don’t forget that smile!

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Comments

  1. Hey this looks great as always! Hey could you make this with chicken legs (cooking them mostly in advance) or beef? Also, when you add the curry powder to the onions, I bet you have to stir really well. Otherwise you’ll have big globules of curry.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thanks, Brian! Yes, you stir until the curry fully coats the onions and releases its scent. Then the curry will have the best flavor. Cheers!

  2. Yum yum yum. My husband and I just ain’t this for dinner. It was unusual and oh so tasty. I needed a bit of a vacation feel tonight. Thanks for sharing this one. I’ve never seen a comparable recipe and the flavors just worked so well together. I could see this one making a huge hit in a restaurant. Thanks. I must say I am starting to feel the end of the alphabet approaching too quickly. What will you do next? I so look forward to the rhythm of your posts. I’ll be despondent when Zimbabwe comes along.

    • Ok. We ATE it for dinner not ain’t it. I actually forgot the curry powder – duh- and had to add it after the tuna went in and it still was great.

  3. I’m returning from Tuvalu some days ago and make many photos:
    http://zoxexivo.com/en/entry/trip-to-tuvalu

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Tuna [Recipe] This quirky tuna curry will transport you to Tuvalu quicker than any airplane. Enjoy bursts of [...]

  2. [...] sashimi-style, the salt water still dripping from each bite. They also enjoy making curry with it [Recipe] and serving the whole she-bang over white [...]

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