Sunday, August 29, 2010

Alaisa fa’apopo – Coconut rice

By panipopos

If you ever have leftover rice, and you can’t make fried rice (like me), this simple Samoan recipe is a nice way to give it new life. I use the term “Samoan recipe” loosely though because wherever there are coconuts, there is a version of this dish. Thailand, India, the Carribbean - they even eat this in East Africa! There it’s known as wali wa nazi (wali = rice, nazi – coconut). Ours is called alaisa (= rice) fa’apopo (= coconuttified).

OK, I’m no linguist.

I’ll just stick to cooking.

Alaisa fa’apopo (serves 4)

2 cups (400-450g*) long-grain rice
water to wash the rice
2 cups (480ml) water
1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
½ - 1 tsp salt 

* Weight varies depending on type of rice.

Wash the rice well. Put the rice and measured water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it boils, turn the heat down as low as it’ll go, and leave to cook, tightly covered, for about 20 minutes until the rice is has absorbed all the water and the grains are cooked through. Turn off the heat. Add the coconut milk and salt to the cooked rice and combine well. Leave for about 10 minutes for the rice to absorb some coconutty flavour.

If you’re using leftover rice, omit the water. Simply mix the coconut milk with the salt in a saucepan, then add the rice. Cook over gentle heat until the rice is heated through, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn.

Serve hot or at room temperature. 

In Samoan cuisine, this is not a side-dish, more like a savoury snack.

Wash it down with a hot cup of kokosamoa (Samoan cocoa), or a strong cup of coffee.

And the chopsticks are for display purposes only. Samoans eat this with a spoon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Suafa'i recipe video

By panipopos

I've eaten way more suafa'i than is good for me, but the stuff is really addictive! Don't let the appearance of this dish put you off. If you could smell it while it was cooking, you'd think I was making some kind of banana coconut pudding, and that wouldn't be far from the delicious truth. 

If you happen to try this and you don't like it, then I'll refund you the cost of your rotten bananas. Deal?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Suafa’i – Banana soup

By panipopos

This Samoan dish wouldn’t win any beauty contests. In fact, as a child, I used to think that suafa’i looked like brain matter, but that didn’t stop me from going back for seconds and thirds.

Suafa’I is a dessert/breakfast soup which can be eaten hot or cold. Versions of this soup can be found across Southeast Asia, but as far as I know, Samoans are they only ones to boil the heck out of the ripened bananas.

Use bananas that are past their prime and too mushy to eat, preferably covered in black spots, because these are sweeter and softer than perfectly ripe ones.

Tapioca pearls come in different sizes. Use the smaller ones because they cook faster. You can also use sago if tapioca is unavailable.

Suafa’i (serves 6)
8 medium overripe bananas
4 cups (1 litre) water
½ cup (100g) small tapioca pearls
1 cup (240ml) coconut milk
¼ - ½ cup (50-100g) sugar (optional)

Peel the bananas and place in a medium saucepan. You can roughly chop the bananas if you like, but it isn’t necessary as the boiling will soften them to the right consistency.

Add the water and then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Break the bananas up with a wooden spoon, fork or masher.

Sprinkle the tapioca into the saucepan while stirring. Don’t add the tapioca all at once or it might clump, and keep stirring to separate the pearls and to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

Add the coconut milk and then simmer over low/medium heat until the tapioca is cooked, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently. You’ll know the pearls are done when they turn translucent (no frogspawn/white eyeballs looking at you). 

Finally, taste the suafa’i. Sometimes your bananas will be sweet enough that you don’t need to add any sugar. If you like a little more sweetness, then add sugar to taste. 

Remove from the heat, leave for about 30 minutes to cool and then serve in a bowl or cup. You can also cool suafa’i completely, and refrigerate it. Once cooled, serve it as a snack or dessert.
* When the tapioca is mostly done, you can turn off the heat and the tapioca will cook through with the residual heat.
* Don’t leave the tapioca to simmer unchecked or the suafa’i might burn onto the bottom of your saucepan.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sapasui recipe video

By panipopos

Finally got around to posting up the sapasui video.

I love how this recipe is so versatile, and I've seen and eaten so many variations of this.

Even though some people turn their noses up at it, I still like using frozen veges, probably because of all the pretty colours. However, sometime in the future, I'll post recipes for chicken sapasui (my sister cooks a version with chicken on the bone) and the beloved pisupo (canned corned beef) sapasui, and I'll try to use some fresh veges in those.

I love this blogging business. Gives me a really good excuse to make heaps of Samoan food. Oh yeah, and EAT it too!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sapasui – Samoan chop suey

By panipopos

Few of the ingredients in this dish are native to Samoa, but this Chinese import has become a Samoan staple. There are loads of variations. Use this as a base recipe and adjust it as you like. Pork and chicken make great sapasui, as does pisupo (canned corned beef). Mixed vegetables cook quickly and add a nice colour, but fresh vegetables like cabbage, carrot and broccoli also taste great in this dish. Serve hot with rice, taro, or green bananas. And if you have leftovers and want an awesome lunch, then try making a Sapasui Sandwich. Just butter two slices of bread and slap some sapasui in there, hot or cold.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lialia - Bean Vermicelli

By panipopos

Lialia is a vermicelli made from green beans and peas. The legume starches are mixed with cornstarch and water, then extruded through tiny holes into boiling water. The boiling hardens them, then the noodles are quickly cooled and freeze-dried into crisp and delicate bundles which, like dried pasta, have a very long shelf life.

When boiled, lialia is translucent and white, and will take on any colour of the broth it is cooked in. When fried, lialia puffs up like rice crispies. In Samoan cooking, lialia is almost exclusively used to make sapasui (Samoan chop suey).