The Fijian Kitchen -
Food, Recipes and other delightful tidbits served to village homestay guests at Namatakula!

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Namatakula - gourmet's delight

A traditional meal using hands The lovu feast is nearly ready! Rosa and Tema - great cooks!

Opinion by Kim Cronin, Naturopath of 15 years standing

Don't even try to resist the wonderful Fijian cooking because you will be missing out on one of life's truly great pleasures. There is plenty of time to walk it off along sunset drenched beaches or an early morning swim in the lagoon the next day. It's "Fiji time" now so savour every moment during your Fiji Holidays.

Image right: Rock lobster served Fijian style... an amazingly tasty feast!

The food is outstanding. From its world famous sweet pineapple and ripe papaya to locally caught lagoon fish, crab, prawn and lobster, your taste buds will never be the same. It is all fresh, locally grown and so lovingly prepared for each and every guest.

As a Naturopath, I have a very special interest in healthy food and clean water and when you stay at the villages you will be getting both. Guests can go spear fishing day or night for their catch of unicorn or parrot fish at Namatakula on the coral coast of Viti Levu. You will see paddocks of healthy taro and cassava growing in the village and could be lucky enough to see a young farmer plough his land using the family bullock. We have stayed at many resorts in Fiji and the food just never matches what you will eat in the villages.

AND there's the traditional lovo feast you will be treated too. Similar to a hungi, food is wrapped and cooked under native leaves and buried in the ground. Homemade breads with other dishes like palusami (see below) await the feast of steaming hot seafood, chicken, taro, cassava to be brought to your eating area and there you will sit on the floor and eat traditional style...with your hands, no cutlery. Heavenly!

Some of our favourite dishes are briefly discussed below so you, too, can start to salivate even before your feet have touched down in Fiji. What are you waiting for during your holidays in Fiji??!!

Some delicious traditional foods ...

Home made scones for breakfast Home made bread - with a lovely dash
of grated coconut
Sea food stuffed with a variety of
tasty treats

Palusami.....
A combination of corned beef, onion ,
garlic and tomato wrapped in taro leaves.
Unicorn fish
boiled served with vudi (large plantain,
like banana only better) and roasted in
the oven in lolo (coconut milk fresh from
the tree)
Rosa's Bibinka ...
Cassava, coconut cream, sugar, egg
and cheese mixed and topped with a
little extra grated cheese and baked.
They will bake this late at night, together
with homemade scones ready for your
breakfast the next morning.

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Fijian Foods

Dalo:
A dry starchy rootcrop which has a taste reminiscent to artichokes.

Tavikoa (tapioka or cassava):
Also a rootcrop with a bland taste but a lot starchier than dalo. When well cooked the taste could be likened to a boiled potato.

Miti:
Thick coconut cream combined with onions, chillies, lemon juice, salt and pepper. A very popular dressing for most seafood.

Kokoda:
Cubed fish steeped in lemon/lime juice then squeezed and garnished with onions, chillies, shallots, grated carrots, tomatoes and combined with thick coconut cream. Usually served chilled.

Palusami:
A popular dish made from dalo or taro leaves. Thick coconut cream is combined with onions, salt (chillies and canned meat are optional choices) and poured into a cup made from several leaves, wrapped in foil or banana leaves and baked.

Duruka
An aspargus like delicacy which is creamy in colour. Normally cooked in coconut cream.

Fish in lolo or coconut cream:
Fish boiled in thick coconut cream, with onions and tomatoes. Prawns, crabs, fresh/sea water mussels can also be cooked this way. Duruka is sometimes added.

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....and Fijian Recipes:

TEMA's (Namatakula) CASSAVA CAKE RECIPE:

Ingredients
Cassava
Coconut Milk
Bit of brown sugar and butter

  1. use a grate to scrape the cassava into small pieces smaller than a grain of rice.
  2. do the same with the Coconut, then squeeze the milk out of the coconut. (If you cannot get a coconut - coconut milk from the shop will do.
  3. mix the scraped cassava with sugar to make it a nice brown colour
  4. add the coconut milk to create a thick mixture
  5. rub the inside of a dish with butter to prevent sticking
  6. put it straight away into a hot over - this is not a bread so the cake takes about 45 minutes to make.
  7. cut the cake which should have a firm bur moist and soft feel and be brown on top with a thin skin.

Cassava cake is delicious and is normally served with afternoon tea or breakfast.


COCONUT FISH SOUP

2 lb fish heads & carcasses (cod, snapper or similar).
7 cups water; 2tsp salt.
1 large onion, dash pepper
1 small whole chili.
1 tablespoon lemon juice.
2 cups thick coconut cream (not sweetened)
lemon slices & chopped green onions for garnish

Bring first 6 ingredients to simmering point and maintain until fish is soft. Skim periodically. Strain off stock and adjust seasoning if necessary. Stir in lemon juice & coconut cream and heat thoroughly -- do not boil. Garnish with lemon slice & chopped green onions.

Yields six portions.


GINGER FISH

2-3 pounds of snapper, grouper or cod -- or any firm white fish
1 lemon
2 T vegetable oil
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup corn oil
3/4 cups white wine
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
2 tsp sugar
parsley, coriander or slivered ginger root for garnish

Rinse & dry fish well. Cut lemon in half and squeeze, rubbing juice into fish, inside & out. Refrigerate for about an hour then rub with vegetable oil and place in a shallow baking dish. In a blender, mix thoroughly soy sauce, corn oil, white wine, garlic, sugar and ginger. Pour over fish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until the fish flakes easily and juices are opaque. Baste frequently with sauce. Garnish & serve.

Yields 6 portions.


Fijian Curries:

Coconut Chutney

Here is the classic chutney that is served with Fiji’s curries. It can also be a side dish for various rice recipes. It will last in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least one hour to blend the flavors.Yield: About 2 ½ cups

Heat Scale: Medium


Fijian Raita

This dish was originally designed to cool down very hot curries, but then adventurous cooks had the idea to spice it up! Go figure. Serve this as a condiment.

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit for an hour to blend the flavors.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Medium


Goat Curry--Fiji Style

Don’t worry, I don’t require you to slaughter a goat for this dish. Substitute lamb for the best results, or you can use beef, chicken, or pork. This dish makes a lot of curry, but it freezes well. All of the spices can be found in Asian or Indian markets. Serve over rice with the chutney and the raita on the side.

Mash the garlic and salt together in a mortar. Add just a bit of water to make a paste. Add the ground fenugreek, coriander, black mustard seed, cumin, turmeric powder, red chile, and curry powder and pound to a smooth paste, adding water as necessary. Transfer to a large pan and add half the cilantro. Add two cups or water and cook over medium heat until thick.

Add the meat to the sauce. Stir to coat the meat and partially cover, stirring occasionally. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Add ½ of the chopped onion, the potatoes, and carrots, partially cover and cook for 45 minutes or until everything is tender. The sauce should be very thick. At the end, add the rest of the chopped onion, stir in the yogurt, and sprinkle the rest of the cilantro over the top.

Yield: 6 servings

Heat Scale: Medium


Kokoda (Fijian Spicy Fish)

This fish dish is a Fijian favorite and utilizes common ingredients of the islands. It is the Fiji version of ceviche. Serve it with a fresh fruit salad.

Cut the fish into bite-size pieces. In a non-reactive bowl, combine the fish, lime juice, and salt. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Remove from the refrigerator, add the coconut cream, chopped onion, and chile just before serving. Sprinkle the tomatoes and bell pepper over the top. Serve on a bed of lettuce in coconut bilos (half coconut shells).

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Heat Scale: Mild


Squash and Chana Dhal

In Fiji, this vegetarian side dish is made with lauki, a type of gourd. Use yellow squash or zucchini. Channa dhal is available in Asian or Indian markets.

Wash the split peas throughly and place in a pan with four cups of lightly salted water. Boil, uncovered, until the peas are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the squash and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is soft.

While the squash is simmering, heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onions for three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, and stir well. Continue to saute for 5 minutes.

Drain any excess liquid off the peas and squash, add the onion mixture and stir well. Sprinkle the lime juice over the dish and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Heat Scale: Medium

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