Monday Meal Review: Papua New Guinea

Asaro Mud Man. Photo by Jialiang Gao.

I hover over the dining table, scooping the tapioca and banana mush onto banana leaves to make saksak. The deep green leaves are soft and supple - completely relaxed from a pass over the licking blue flames on my range. I work slowly, eventually rolling each leaf into a rectangle shape, taking care not to spill any filling. I tuck each bundle securely in the steamer and, when I'm done, I click on the burner. A few moments later, vapors slip out between the pot lid and the pot. Little wisps of … [Read more...]

Recipe: Spicy Coconut Shrimp

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Fact: Shrimp are like relationships. They should be warm and inviting. Not cold and clammy. I've never been a fan of cold shrimp at cocktail parties. I eat them begrudgingly (if only because I'm an eternal grazer). All the while, I daydream of a crackling, crusty, and "fried-until-golden-brown" shrimp. I'm not sure why I settle on cold and clammy at cocktail parties, but I do it every single time. Thankfully, I didn't make the same mistake when choosing my husband. And, after this week's … [Read more...]

Recipe: Tapioca & Banana Dumplings in Coconut Milk | Saksak (w/ poll)

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I don't make a lot of really, really weird things on this blog. You won't see deep-fried tarantulas or monkey brains. This is because I feel strongly that regular people (and by that I mean regular-really-special-all-kinds-of-wonderful  people like you), living in average towns (that they love with all their heart, like you do) should be able to replicate this adventure without pulling their hair out by the roots. Simply put: the more people cooking the world, the better. And I'm here … [Read more...]

Recipe: Autumnal Veggies in Spiced Coconut Milk

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"I would eat that" says Mr. Picky, after taking a nibble off of my wooden spoon. I take a bite off the same spoon and let my eyes flutter shut. My mouth is filled with the most comforting, savory goodness. These coconut veggies taste exactly like a delicious hug on a rainy day... or a steaming hot shower after a rough and tumble game of basketball... or that happy dream you have after finishing a really, really great book (or show) - the kind of dream that lets the world of the characters … [Read more...]

Menu: Papua New Guinea (& Giveaway)

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"How can a country of 800 plus languages and 700 plus ethnic groups unite to form a country, impossible but possible for PNG" - Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea. (Source) Sir Michael Somare has a great point. How exactly does a group of people so diverse remain unified as a country? From what I've read, PNG's success has a great deal to do with the freedom it allows these  700 ethnic groups to express themselves, whether by wearing unique clothing, performing … [Read more...]

About the food of Papua New Guinea

As a fisherman waits patiently for the fish to bite, Tavurvur belches ash and pumice into the twilight. Photo by Taro Taylor.

Few sentences succeed at stopping me in my tracks, however last night's research on Papua New Guinea made me blush and chuckle. I can't help but share the line that made me react so strongly, as it sums up the culture more succinctly than three pages worth of blabber I could offer: A young bare-breasted woman recently bought as a bride for five pigs may be wearing a digital wristwatch. (1000 Places to See Before You Die) Knock that image around your brain a while. As far as mental images go, … [Read more...]