Monday Meal Review: Fiji


THE SCENE: I knew it was time but I secretly hoped to fail. "Can I help you?" the fishmonger asked. He was bright eyed and eager. His apron was starched. "I am making ceviche and need a very fresh piece of Mahi-Mahi." Please, oh please, I thought, scanning the fish case. Please let him say they don't have any. "We don't carry sushi-grade fish," he said, shaking his head. He looked genuinely disappointed. "Oh, ok. Well, thanks anyway" I turned on my heel, giving Ava … [Read more...]

Recipe: Polynesian Coconut Bananas


Serves 4 People all over Polynesia eat this rich, sweet dessert. It's uber simple to throw together - just take care to not overcook the bananas, lest they become mushy. Mushy is a big time banana fail. I never met anyone who loved mushy bananas. Do you? TIP: This amount of coconut milk can easily cook more bananas - perhaps up to 8 small red bananas. I only needed 4 for our small family though. Ingredients: 4 small red bananas or 2 regular bananas 1/4 tsp salt (or just a … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fijian Coconut Ceviche (Kokoda)


Serves 4 (as an appetizer) Until Kokada entered my life, ceviche was uncharted territory for me. Raw fish dishes are definitely not native to my hometowns - Boston, Atlanta, Paris, or Luxembourg - they're really more of a tropical item. (Is it weird to say I have more than one hometown? It's all I know...) I had my reservations about consuming raw fish in landlocked Tulsa, Oklahoma - but, after taking a big sniff, the fishmonger assured me the mahi-mahi was fresh. What a flavor sensation … [Read more...]

Fiji teaches: what food would be on your flag?


Do you ever, in the midst of clipping your fingernails, start wondering about the meaning of life? Do you ever, while tweezing those stray hairs, start wondering "who am I, anyway?" Do you ever, while watching a movie, start thinking about what food your soul might be made up of? The other night we watched "Cold Souls," an offbeat film about the possibility of removing the soul and freezing it until needed again. The main character (played by Paul Giamatti) extracts his soul only to find out … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fijian Curried Corned Beef


Serves 6-8 I'll be honest - I've spent the better part of my life avoiding corned beef. It seemed messy, unwieldy, and way too, well,... meaty. Global Table has a way of taking me out of my comfort zone, though. Turns out this one pot dish is super easy and wickedly tasty. Today we're making a Fijian version. Their special twist is a hearty helping of curry powder. If you'd like to make it even more Fijian, try swapping the potatoes with taro root and/or chunks of yucca. Also, Fijians would … [Read more...]

Recipe: Homemade Curry Powder


Makes about 1/4 cup Curry powder isn't just for India anymore. Fijians, all the way in Polynesia, also love the golden goodness. I took a look at Mark Bittman's curry recipes (he has three different ones in The Best Recipes in the World), and made a version which combines the best of his fragrant curry and mild curry. The result? An all-purpose curry that will taste great on almost anything. Except maybe ice cream. This version ended up quite a bit different than Bittman's, most notably … [Read more...]

Menu: Fiji


"He who plants a coconut tree, plants food and drink, vessels and clothing, a habitation for himself and a heritage for his children." - South Seas Proverb I love this quotation. Not only does it show the importance of the coconut in the region, but it also shows a deep regard for one's family and the future. Of course, it also makes me think of sweet Miss Ava. If there were a tree I could plant that would afford Ava all of these same luxuries my hands would be blistered from the effort of … [Read more...]

About the food of Fiji (a.k.a. how to live a good life)


"Bula" my dear friends. That's Fijian for "Hello, live life fully." And I really mean it. I hope you take risks - get the courage to talk to your cute neighbor, be brave enough to speak up when someone is in need, and spread love with every action. Make an effort to look past the superficial. In the wake of the sunami, which set Fiji on red alert this weekend, Fijians certainly were not worried about what brand shoes they were wearing (if they ever worried about this at all). They were … [Read more...]