Samoan coconut buns

Week 21 – Samoa

Two main islands and eight small islets house pristine beaches with luscious green rainforests coming right down to the sand and in certain places spectacular rocky cliffs. With hundreds of scenic hiking trails you can traverse the country side enjoying waterfalls, secret grottos and wildlife galore. A strong proud culture with many traditions such as their ‘ava ceremony and siva (dancing) live here, welcome to Samoa.

Traditional ‘ava ceremony

Samoa is located in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean it is halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. The main islands are Upolu and Savai’i with Upolu home to 3/4 of the country’s population. All of the islands of Samoa have been produced by volcanoes, with Savai’i home to 3 active volcanoes (the last eruption was in the early 1900’s).

Samoa’s capital city and largest city is Apia which is situated on a natural harbour on the island of Upolu. The city’s clock tower which is also a war memorial is cited as the center of the city. Scattered there is still some early, wooden, colonial buildings most notably the old courthouse amongst other new infrastructure. Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote famous books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde resided on the outskirts of town for his last four years of life and he was buried on top of the close mountain Mt. Vaea. The city’s harbour was also the location of a naval standoff in 1889. Seven ships from Germany, the US, and Britain refused to leave the harbor while a typhoon was approaching, all of the ships ended up sinking except one.

Historic old courthouse originally built in 1906 in Historism and Art Deco style.

Historic old courthouse originally built in 1906 in Historism and Art Deco style.

Samoan Cuisine

Samoa’s cuisine very heavily based on fresh produce normally catch or collected that day. Produce such as taro, bananas, papaya, coconut (freshly made coconut cream or milk is an ingredient in an multitude of recipes), fish and other seafood are the basis of most dishes. Most Samoan kitchens are outside and use a umu (earth oven of hot stones) to cook all food. No oil is used in any of their cooking as they wrap their meat or seafood in banana leaves and cook it straight over the hot stones. Some of the most loved dishes include palusami (young taro leaves baked in coconut cream) and oka, (raw fish in coconut cream).

Typical meal

Typical meal

What I Made

I decided to go sweet and chose Panipopo’s (sweet coconut buns) these buns are sold in bakeries all over Samoa. I sourced my recipe from → www.samoafood.com check it out for amazing Samoan recipes!

Recipe

Serves: 12

Ingredients

For Bread Dough:

  • 1 package (2 & ¼ teaspoon) of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour

For Coconut Sauce:

  • ½ can (200ml) canned or freah coconut milk
  • 200ml water
  • ½ sugar

 Method

  1. Put yeast and water in a large bowl and cover, leave for 10 minutes,  your yeast should be frothy at the end of the time.
  2. Add the rest of the dough ingredients and mix to form a soft dough, this can be done with a wooden spoon or any type of automatic mixer.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 20 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to double in size, about 1 hour depending on your kitchen’s temperature.
  5. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into buns and place in an ungreased baking tin. Cover and leave to rise until almost doubled.
  6. While the buns are rising preheat oven  to 190°C/ 375°F. Make your coconut sauce by combing all ingredients and mixing well.
  7. When buns have doubled in size, pour the sauce over them. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely golden. (wait half an hour till cutting them, as it gives time for the sauce to thicken)

The buns were not the most amazing thing I’ve ever had but they sweet and gooey so they hit the spot. I think it was it bread that let them down a bit, the bread seemed a little to savoury for the sweet sauce, I’d suggest finding a sweet bread recipe that you know good and swapping that one for this one. They were nice with a large cup of black tea and a good book. Score 6/10.

My coconut buns!

My coconut buns!

A Maldivian hot drink for a cold night

WEEK 15 – Maldives

Hi everyone Roma here, so last week I picked Maldives out of the box.Ready to discover the flavours of Maldives I got straight to researching!

ABOUT MALDIVES

The smallest Asian country in both population and land area, the Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean and consists of 1,192 coral islands grouped in a double chain of 26 atolls. The atolls are spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometres. The Maldives is the planet’s lowest country at only 1.5 metres above sea level. Also the country has the lowest natural highest point in the world at 2.4 metres.

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 Tourism is the country’s main source of income. The first tourist resorts were opened in 1972 with Bandos island resort and Kurumba Village. The number of resorts has dramatically increased from 2 to 92 between 1972 and 2007.

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 The capital and largest city Malé is home to some beautiful places like the Old Friday Mosque, it is the oldest mosque in the country, dating from 1656. It’s a beautiful structure made from coral stone into which intricate decoration and Quranic script have been chiselled. The Muliaa’ge which is the Presidential Palace of Malé, Maldives is also very cute.

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The country’s capital city Malé

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Muliaa’ge the Presidential Palace of Malé

MALDIVIAN CUISINE

Maldivian cuisine is based on fish, coconut and rice.Capsicum, chilli, onions, curry leaves and lemon juice are used in many dishes. With tuna being the main fish served. Skipjack tuna to be exact. Trade with Sri Lanka and South India allow for flavours are often very spicy and hot.

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Screen shot 2015-04-05 at 3.45.57 PM Maldive fish (which is a processed tuna product), is made in the Maldives and is a staple of Maldivian cuisine. It is also exported, mainly to Sri Lanka.Coconuts are used in most Maldivian recipes. They are grated, squeezed for the coconut milk or pressed for coconut oil.Fruits that are often on hand in Maldives include pandanus, bananas, mangoes and papaya.

WHAT I MADE

I decide on a drink this week. The local population does not drink alcoholic beverages so tea is one of the favourite drinks. They also enjoy tender coconut water and Raa, which is toddy tapped from palm trees. I got this recipe from this very helpful website all about Maldivian cuisine  click here → maldivian-food-drink-recipes

Masala Chai

4 cups water
3 teaspoons loose tea
1 inch ginger
3 inch cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
3 cardamom pods opened
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup sugar

Start with boiling four cups of water. Add three teaspoons of loose tea, one inch ginger, one half cup sugar, three opened cardamom pods, two whole cloves and a three inch cinnamon stick. Let this simmer for five minutes. Add two cups milk and three tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk and let it heat, but not boil, for about three minutes. Strain it and serve.

The Chai was really lovely had a nice spicy and sweet flavour and was throughly enjoyed by all! Even Mimsey liked it and she always says she doesn’t like sweet tea! Score 9/10.

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