I am sure most of us have heard about Fiji but are not so familiar with its cuisine and eating trends. Fiji is a tropical country comprising of several hundred islands in the Pacific Ocean about few thousand kilometres from New Zealand. Almost all the islands were a result of the volcanic eruptions and till date some seismic activity is noticed over there. Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the pacific region due to abundance of forest, minerals and fish resources. Fiji water is highly regarded as a pure form of water and is naturally sourced and bottled and exported all over the world. Fiji is a set of islands which are not so populous and are known for their natural beauty, flora and fauna. Today the main source of foreign exchange is the tourism industry and sugar exports of the country.
A solid 40% of the Fiji’s population is of Indian origin, most of them migrated during the British colonial rule in the 1800’s to work for sugarcane plantations. Indian dishes were traditionally made in their household but eventually formed into their own signature style over a period and is thus acknowledged as Fiji Indian cuisine. I would say the resulting food is strongly influenced by, yet still unique from Indian cuisine. The overall flavours of Fiji Indian cuisine are lighter and subtler. The dishes may sound similar but are different visually and taste different from Indian traditional dishes.
Fijians have created hundreds of masala blends. Many of these blends have been passed through their families originating in India. Speciality blends include spicy masalas for meat and seafood. Masala is added to almost everything from vegetable and fruit dishes, to desserts and teas. Masala is the common thread that binds famous Fijian dishes by creating spicy curries and delicately flavoured entrees. Most Fiji restaurants create their own signature masala or curry.
Visitors to Fiji will discover that the local hotels and restaurants provide inexpensive dining experience to sample Fiji’s rich cuisine and make it more popular. Many Fiji hotels and resorts host well-known chefs that utilise locally grown produce and spices to create unforgettable meals. Vegetarians will also appreciate the many vegetarian Fiji restaurants that provide Indian cuisine for the local vegetarian residents and tourists. Tourists looking for unique Indian curries and roti will discover that the tiny, two or three table restaurants provide authentic, delicious dining experience with personalised charm.
When you are visiting Fiji or an authentic Fiji restaurant never miss to experience a traditional lavo. This is the best example of traditional Fijian cooking method. A large pit is dug into the sand where seafood and vegetables such as taro and tapioca are cooked underground. This cooking method imparts earthen flavour to the food and is considered healthy too. The climate being tropical has abundance of coconuts and it is an integral part of the Fijian cuisine and culture, it is combined with almost everything and are used in varying degrees of its development in appetisers, entrees, desserts and beverages. This Fiji chicken curry is one simple recipe for you to try at home.
Fiji special chicken curry
Chicken thigh 2 lb
Onion 2 no
Garlic 4-5 cloves
Ginger 1-inch cube
Green chili 2 no
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds ½ tsp
Cardamom 2-3 pods
Curry leaves 2-3 sprigs
Cloves 2-3 no
Garam masala 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves 2 tbsp
Lemon juice 1 tbsp
Chicken stock 200ml
Wash and chop the chicken into 1cm dice or bite size dice and keep aside.
Thin slice on onion and chop the other one and keep aside.
Combine garlic ginger, green chili and salt in a blender and make a paste.
Add garam masala, turmeric powder and some water to make a curry paste, of running consistency, keep aside.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds to splutter.
Add cinnamon stick and cardamom seeds and curry leaves, and let them splutter.
Add the chopped onion and stir well to cook them till they are brown.
Pour in the prepared curry paste and stir over medium heat, add chicken and the sliced onions and combine well.
Cook the chicken, while turning it to avoid the burning.
When the chicken is almost cooked, adjust the seasoning and add some stock.
Adjust the seasoning by adding some salt and add some stock, bring to boil and finish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
Serve hot on rice bed.
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